Researchers at the University of California, Davis have discovered a key mechanism by which dietary omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) could reduce the tumor growth and spread of cancer, a disease that kills some 580,000 Americans a year.
In groundbreaking research, the team of 16 scientists led by Dr. Guodong Zhang of the Bruce Hammock laboratory, Department of Entomology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, discovered cytochrome P450 epoxygenase metabolites of omega-3 fatty acid DHA or epoxy docosapentaenoic acids (EDPs) block blood supply to the tumor and thus inhibit tumor growth and metastasis.
The natural EDPs were further stabilized by a drug called a soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitor which is already under development to control pain and hypertension. The research is to be published the week of April 1-5 in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The studies, conducted on mice, also suggest that a combination of omega-3 diet and some anti-cancer drugs such as sorafenib.
Other co-authors of the paper in addition to Hammock were Jun Yang, Jun-Yan Liu, Kin Sing Stephen Lee, Arzu Ulu, and Sung Hee Hwang, all of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center; Lisa Mahakian, Xiaowen Hu, Katherine Ferrara, Sarah Tam, and Elizabeth Ingham, UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering; Hiromi Wettersten of the UC Davis Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine; Robert Weiss, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Division of Nephrology and U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center, Sacramento; and Dipak Panigrahy and Mark Kieran of the Vascular Biology Program, Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.