Omega-3 fatty acids may help in cancer treatment

Omega-3 fatty acids may help in cancer treatment

According to a study from the University Hospitals of Leicester in the United Kingdom, omega-3 fatty acids may improve both quality of life and treatment response for cancer patients. 

The research, published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (JPEN), represents a step forward in the ongoing struggle to provide cancer patients with a better quality of life as they undergo chemotherapy. The study involved 50 patients who had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. This type of cancer is especially difficult to treat. 

The participants were each given 1,000 milligrams of gemcitabine, a chemotherapy drug, per week. This was followed by a treatment of up to 100 grams of omega-3 rich lipid emulsion for three weeks. The treatment was repeated up to six times, unless patients experienced progression of their cancer, requested to stop the treatment or died.

The study found significant evidence that the patients responded better to the chemotherapy and had greater rates of stabilization of the cancer with the addition of the omega-3 treatment. It also found that the patients scored much higher on quality of life measures than they had before the beginning of the treatment.

Next, the researchers plan to move on to a randomized phase III clinical trial to investigate whether this therapy should be more widely used.

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