Updated 28 July 2015

Omega-3 fatty acids may help improve treatment and quality of life in cancer patients

Cancer patients who take omega 3 supplements may have a better quality of life as well as a better response to treatment, a small study suggests.


Adding omega-3 fatty acids to anti-tumour medications may improve treatment response and quality of life for cancer patients according to a new study by researchers at the University Hospitals of Leicester in the United Kingdom.

The study, published today in the OnlineFirst version of the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (JPEN), the research journal of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.), examined 50 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

Patients were given 1,000 mg of gemcitabine weekly followed by up to 100 g of omega-3 rich lipid emulsion for three weeks followed by a rest week. This was continued for up to six cycles, progression, unacceptable toxicity, patient request, or death.

The study found evidence of activity in response and disease stabilization rates, reduction in liver metastasis volume, and improved quality of life scores in this group of patients.

While this is the first study to use omega-3 fatty acids with a chemotherapy agent in a cancer setting, the researchers believe the results are encouraging enough to warrant further investigation in a randomised phase III trial.

Read more:

Omega 3 inhibits breast cancer tumour growth

Omega 3 fights cancer-related fatigue

Can Omega 3 prevent colon cancer?



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