Colon cancer, fatty acids and anti-inflammatory compounds. Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To outline recent findings on the efficacy of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the prevention/treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. RECENT FINDINGS: Compelling data indicate a functional link between chronic inflammation and colon cancer. With respect to environmental risk factors, there is growing evidence that long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish oil suppress inflammatory bowel diseases and colon cancer risk in humans. Unfortunately, the molecular basis of the effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on inflammation/colitis-associated colon cancer risk is still largely obscure. In this review, we focus on recent studies which address three emerging mechanisms of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids action: (1) metabolic interconversion into bioactive eicosanoids, (2) modulation of nuclear receptor activation, and (3) alteration of membrane phospholipid composition and functionality of lipid microdomains. SUMMARY: The consumption of dietary fish oil may prove to be an effective adjuvant therapy in colon cancer. Therefore, it is both appropriate and timely to determine precisely how n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids modulate cell signaling networks, and reduce the risk of developing colon cancer and inflammatory disorders of the intestine.

published proceedings

  • Curr Opin Gastroenterol

author list (cited authors)

  • Chapkin, R. S., McMurray, D. N., & Lupton, J. R.

citation count

  • 105

complete list of authors

  • Chapkin, Robert S||McMurray, David N||Lupton, Joanne R

publication date

  • January 2007