Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids of fish and their role in cancerous cell lines: A review of in-vitro studies

  • Farheen Jameel
  • Priyanka Agarwal
  • Mohd. Arshad
  • Mohd. Serajuddin
Keywords: anti-proliferation, apoptosis, arachidonic acid, combination chemotherapy, n-3 fatty acids


Fish are a major dietary source of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in humans since the human body lacks the necessary enzymes required to synthesize them. Diets rich in fish oil containing n-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower the incidence rates of cancer. They have also been shown to have cytotoxic or anti-proliferative effects on a variety of human cancer cell lines, and they are known to nurture overall human health without any observable side effects. The present review focused on in-vitro research findings regarding the apoptotic and anti-proliferative role of n-3 fatty acids FAs that highlight the important mechanisms and pathways of their action in inhibiting the progression of cancer. A survey of the literature indicated the paucity of information on the use of n-3 FAs in combination with other anticancer substances. Therefore, further research needs to be undertaken on the use of n-3 FAs in combination with other anticancer phytochemicals and drugs, the use of antibodies as specific carriers of n-3 FAs, and different increasing ratios of n-3/n-6 FAs that not only control the side effects of chemotherapy but also enhance its efficacy and selectivity. These FAs might also prove to be a pioneer therapy against cancer.