Intakes of fish and marine fatty acids and the risks of cancers of the breast and prostate and of other hormone-related cancers: A review of the epidemiologic evidence

Paul D. Terry, Thomas E. Rohan, Alicja Wolk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

227 Scopus citations

Abstract

Marine fatty acids, particularly the long-chain eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, have been consistently shown to inhibit the proliferation of breast and prostate cancer cell lines in vitro and to reduce the risk and progression of these tumors in animal experiments. However, whether a high consumption of marine fatty acids can reduce the risk of these cancers or other hormone-dependent cancers in human populations is unclear. Focusing primarily on the results of cohort and case-control studies, we reviewed the current epidemiologic literature on the intake of fish and marine fatty acids in relation to the major hormone-dependent cancers. Despite the many epidemiologic studies that have been published, the evidence from those studies remains unclear. Most of the studies did not show an association between fish consumption or marine fatty acid intake and the risk of hormone-related cancers. Future epidemiologic studies will probably benefit from the assessment of specific fatty acids in the diet, including eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, and of the ratio of these to n-6 fatty acids, dietary constituents that have not been examined individually very often.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-543
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume77
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Hormone-dependent cancers
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prostaglandins
  • Prostate cancer
  • Sex hormones
  • n-3 Fatty acids
  • n-6 fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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