Protective properties of n-3 fatty acids and implications in obesity-associated breast cancer

Arwa Al-Jawadi, Hanna Moussa, Latha Ramalingam, Suranganie Dharmawardhane, Lauren Gollahon, Preethi Gunaratne, Rakhshanda Layeequr Rahman, Naima Moustaid-Moussa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Obesity is well documented as a risk factor for developing breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women. Adipose tissue in the breast under obese conditions induces inflammation by increasing macrophage infiltration and pro-inflammatory cytokines that in turn up-regulates genes and signaling pathways, resulting in increased inflammation, cell proliferation and tumor growth in the breast. Due to their potent anti-inflammatory effects, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) are a promising and safe dietary intervention in reducing breast cancer risk. Here, we briefly review current status of breast cancer and its relationship with obesity. We then review in depth, current research and knowledge on the role of n-3 PUFA in reducing/preventing breast cancer cell growth in vitro, in vivo and in human studies, and how n-3 PUFA may modulate signaling pathways mitigating their effects on breast cancer development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms/prevention & control
  • Diet, Western
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3/pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6/pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation/complications
  • Obesity/complications


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