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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 368178, 11 pages
Research Article

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Inhibit Tumor Growth in a Rat Model of Bladder Cancer

1Laboratory of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, IBILI, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal
2Department of Urology and Renal Transplantation, Coimbra University Hospital, 3000-075 Coimbra, Portugal
3Service of Anatomic Pathology, Coimbra University Hospital, 3000-075 Coimbra, Portugal

Received 24 April 2013; Accepted 4 June 2013

Academic Editor: Achille Cittadini

Copyright © 2013 Belmiro Parada 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.


Omega-3 ( -3) fatty acids have been tested on prevention and treatment of several cancer types, but the efficacy on “in vivo” bladder cancer has not been analyzed yet. This study aimed at evaluating the chemopreventive efficacy of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) mixture in an animal model of bladder cancer. Forty-four male Wistar rats were divided into 4 groups during a 20-week protocol: control; carcinogen—N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl) nitrosamine (BBN); -3 (DHA + EPA); and -3 + BBN. BBN and -3 were given during the initial 8 weeks. At week 20 blood and bladder were collected and checked for the presence of urothelium lesions and tumors, markers of inflammation, proliferation, and redox status. Incidence of bladder carcinoma was, control (0%), -3 (0%), BBN (65%), and -3 + BBN (62.5%). The -3 + BBN group had no infiltrative tumors or carcinoma in situ, and tumor volume was significantly reduced compared to the BBN (0.9 ± 0.1 mm3 versus 112.5 ± 6.4 mm3). Also, it showed a reduced MDA/TAS ratio and BBN-induced serum CRP, TGF-β1, and CD31 were prevented. In conclusion, omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the development of premalignant and malignant lesions in a rat model of bladder cancer, which might be due to anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-proliferative, and anti-angiogenic properties.