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Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: moving towards precision use for prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer


Data from experimental studies have demonstrated that marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (O3FAs) have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. In the last decade, large-scale randomised controlled trials of pharmacological delivery of O3FAs and prospective cohort studies of dietary O3FA intake have continued to investigate the relationship between O3FA intake and colorectal cancer (CRC) risk and mortality. Clinical data suggest that O3FAs have differential anti-CRC activity depending on several host factors (including pretreatment blood O3FA level, ethnicity and systemic inflammatory response) and tumour characteristics (including location in the colorectum, histological phenotype (eg, conventional adenoma or serrated polyp) and molecular features (eg, microsatellite instability, cyclooxygenase expression)). Recent data also highlight the need for further investigation of the effect of O3FAs on the gut microbiota as a possible anti-CRC mechanism, when used either alone or in combination with other anti-CRC therapies. Overall, these data point towards a precision approach to using O3FAs for optimal prevention and treatment of CRC based on mechanistic understanding of host, tumour and gut microbiota factors that predict anticancer activity of O3FAs.

  • colorectal cancer
  • colorectal adenomas
  • diet

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