Washington: Omega-3 fatty acids, contained in oily fish such as salmon and trout, selectively inhibit growth and induce cell death in early and late-stage oral and skin cancers, a new study suggests.
In vitro tests showed omega-3 fatty acids induced cell death in malignant and pre-malignant cells at doses which did not affect normal cells, suggesting they have the potential to be used in both the treatment and prevention of certain skin and oral cancers.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids cannot be made by humans in large quantities and so we must acquire them from our diet.
The scientists at Queen Mary, University of London were studying a particular type of cancer called squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC).
Squamous cells are the main part of the outermost layers of the skin, and SCC is one of the major forms of skin cancer.
However, squamous cells also occur in the lining of the digestive tract, lungs, and other areas of the body.
Oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC) are the sixth most common cancer worldwide and are difficult and very expensive to treat.
The research is published online in the journal Carcinogenesis.