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Supplementing mice with high levels of dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) increases the n-3 PUFAs in cell membranes, increases the susceptibility of the cells for lipid peroxidation (LPO) and decreases the growth rate of mammary and other tumors. However, the results of an earlier study indicated that a factor in addition to LPO was involved in the reduction in tumor growth in n-3 PUFAs fed mice. Athymic mice bearing MDA-MB-231 human breast carcinoma xenografts, were fed fish oil concentrate (FOC) or control diets, with and without supplemental Vitamin E (2000 IU /kg diet) and were sacrificed both before and after doxorubicin (DOX) treatment to evaluate factors involved in tumor growth suppression.


Prior to DOX, basal LPO in the tumor of 3% FOC fed mice was slightly higher than in the control fed mice and was decreased in mice consuming FOC with vitamin E. Vitamin E suppressed the DOX induced increase in LPO in the tumors of control mice, however, vitamin E was not sufficient to suppress a DOX induced increase in LPO in the tumors of FOC fed mice. The mean growth rate of tumors of FOC fed mice was significantly less than the mean growth rate of the tumors of control mice. Multiple regression analyses indicated that suppression of glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activity by FOC prior to DOX therapy was more important than increased LPO as an explanation of tumor growth suppression. Tumor induced cachexia was decreased in mice consuming FOC.


It appears that the increased sensitivity to DOX was related to an FOC induced reduction in GPX activity. FOC reduced tumor induced cachexia.


© 2002 Hardman et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original URL.