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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 310186, 11 pages
Review Article

Dietary ω-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid DHA: A Potential Adjuvant in the Treatment of Cancer

Tuscia University, Department of Ecological and Biological Sciences (DEB), Largo dell’Università, 01100 Viterbo, Italy

Received 1 March 2013; Accepted 8 May 2013

Academic Editor: Gabriella Calviello

Copyright © 2013 Nicolò Merendino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


ω-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), mainly present in fish oil, are part of the human diet. Among PUFAs, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has received particular attention for its anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, proapoptotic, antiangiogenetic, anti-invasion, and antimetastatic properties. These data suggest that DHA can exert antitumor activity potentially representing an effective adjuvant in cancer chemotherapy. This review is focused on current knowledge supporting the potential use of DHA for the enhancement of the efficacy of anticancer treatments in relation to its ability to enhance the uptake of anticancer drugs, regulate the oxidative status of tumor cells, and inhibit tumor cell invasion and metastasis.