Increased risk of Prostate cancer with Omega 3-Fatty acids

The link between Omega-3 fatty acids and increased Prostate Cancer has been confirmed by researchers at the Research Center in their second study.

The research was published July 11th in the online edition of the Journal of the , and illustrates that high concentrations of EPA, DPA and DHA — the three anti-inflammatory and metabolically related fatty acids derived from and fish-oil supplements — are associated with a 71 percent increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer. The increase in risk for high-grade prostate cancer is important because those tumors are more likely to be fatal.
The study also found a 44 percent increase in the risk of low-grade prostate cancer and an overall 43 percent increase in risk for all .

The findings mirror and substantiate an earlier 2011 study published by the same scientific team that reported a similar link between high of DHA and a more than doubling of the risk for developing high-grade prostate cancer. The latest study also confirms results from a large European study.

“The consistency of these findings suggests that these fatty acids are involved in prostate tumorigenesis and recommendations to increase long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake, in particular through supplementation, should consider its potential risks,” the authors wrote.

“We’ve shown once again that use of nutritional supplements may be harmful,” said Alan Kristal, Dr.P.H., the paper’s senior author and member of the Public . Kristal also noted a recent analysis published in the that questioned the benefit of omega-3 supplementation for cardiovascular diseases. The analysis, which combined the data from 20 studies, found no reduction in all-, heart attacks or strokes.

“What’s important is that we have been able to replicate our findings from 2011 and we have confirmed that marine omega-3 fatty acids play a role in prostate cancer occurrence,” said corresponding author Theodore Brasky, Ph.D., a research assistant professor at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center who was a postdoctoral trainee at when the research was conducted. “It’s important to note, however, that these results do not address the question of whether omega-3’s play a detrimental role in prostate cancer prognosis,” he said.

The difference in of omega-3 fatty acids between the lowest and highest risk groups was about 2.5 percentage points (3.2 percent vs. 5.7 percent), which is somewhat larger than the effect of eating salmon twice a week, Kristal said. The current study analyzed data and specimens collected from men who participated in the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT), a large randomized, placebo-controlled trial to test whether selenium and vitamin E, either alone or combined, reduced prostate cancer risk. That study showed no benefit from selenium intake and an increase in in men who took vitamin E.

The group included in the this analysis consisted of 834 men who had been diagnosed with incident, primary (156 were high-grade cancer) along with a comparison group of 1,393 men selected randomly from the 35,500 participants in SELECT.

Kristal said the findings in both studies were surprising because omega-3 fatty acids are believed to have a host of positive health effects based on their anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation plays a role in the development and growth of many cancers. Earlier studies had suggested that omega 3 consumption lowered the risk of prostate cancer.

It is unclear from this study why high levels of omega-3 fatty acids would increase prostate cancer risk, according to the authors, however the replication of this finding in two large studies indicates the need for further research into possible mechanisms. One potentially harmful effect of omega-3 fatty acids is their conversion into compounds that can cause damage to cells and DNA, and their role in immunosuppression. Whether these effects impact cancer risk is not known.

Source
1.T. M. Brasky, C. Till, E. White, M. L. Neuhouser, X. Song, P. Goodman, I. M. Thompson, I. B. King, D. Albanes, A. R. Kristal. Serum Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk: Results From the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2011; 173 (12): 1429 DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwr027

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