Blog | Monday, July 1, 2013

QD: News Every Day--Fatty acids found in fish might lower breast cancer risk

Higher intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) was associated with lower risk of breast cancer in a recent study.

Researchers performed a meta-analysis and systematic review of 26 publications from 21 independent prospective cohort studies to determine whether intake of fish and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) was associated with risk of breast cancer, as well as whether there was a dose-response relationship. A total of 20,905 breast cancer cases and 883,585 participants were involved overall. Eleven of the included articles looked at fish intake, 17 looked at marine n-3 PUFA intake, and 12 looked at alpha-linolenic acid intake.

The authors found a 14% reduction of breast cancer risk associated with marine n-3 PUFA, with a relative risk of 0.86 for the highest versus lowest category. In dose-response analysis, breast cancer risk appeared to be reduced by 5% per 0.1g/d or 0.1% energy/d increment of dietary marine n-3 PUFA intake. No significant association was seen, however, between breast cancer risk and fish or alpha-linolenic acid intake.

Although the included studies were observational and used different assessment methods, among other limitations, the authors concluded that higher consumption of marine n-3 PUFA was associated with a lower risk for breast cancer. "These findings could have public health implications with regard to prevention of breast cancer through dietary and lifestyle interventions," they wrote. The full study was published online June 27 by BMJ.