DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils, has been shown to reduce the size of tumors and enhance the positive effects of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, while limiting its harmful side effects. These experiments, described in the journal Cell Division, provide some support for the many health benefits often suggested for omega-3 acids.
Professor A. M. El-Mowafy and his team from Mansoura University (Egypt) studied DHA’s effects on solid tumors growing in mice, and investigated how this fatty acid interacts with cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug that is known to cause kidney damage. El-Mowafy said, “DHA elicited prominent chemopreventive effects on its own, and appreciably augmented those of cisplatin as well." He went further and indicated that DHA can obliterate certain cisplatin-induced toxicity and damage to kidney tissue.
DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is commonly found in cold-water fish oil, and some vegetable oils. It is a major component of brain gray matter and of the retina in most mammalian species and is considered essential for normal neurological and cellular developments. This study found that, at the molecular level, DHA acts by reducing white blood cell accumulation, inflammation, and oxidative stress – all processes that have been linked with tumor growth.
El-Mowafy and his colleagues have called for greater deployment of omega-3 in the fight against cancer.