Posts Tagged ‘beating cancer’

Supplementation with omega 3 fish oil increases first-line chemotherapy efficacy in patients

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

BACKGROUND:
Palliative chemotherapy is aimed at increasing survival and palliating symptoms. However, the response rate to first-line chemotherapy in patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is less than 30%. Experimental studies have shown that supplementation with omega 3  fish oil (FO) can increase chemotherapy efficacy without negatively affecting nontarget tissue. This study evaluated whether the combination of omega3 and fish oil and chemotherapy (carboplatin with vinorelbine or gemcitabine) provided a benefit over standard of care (SOC) on response rate and clinical benefit from chemotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC.

METHODS:
Forty-six patients completed the study, n = 31 in the SOC group and n = 15 in the Omega 3 Fish oil  group (2.5 g EPA + DHA/day). Response to chemotherapy was determined by clinical examination and imaging. Response rate was defined as the sum of complete response plus partial response, and clinical benefit was defined as the sum of complete response, partial response, and stable disease divided by the number of patients. Toxicities were graded by a nurse before each chemotherapy cycle. Survival was calculated 1 year after study enrollment.

RESULTS:
Patients in the omega 3 fish oil group had an increased response rate and greater clinical benefit compared with the SOC group (60.0% vs 25.8%, P = .008; 80.0% vs 41.9%, P = .02, respectively). The incidence of dose-limiting toxicity did not differ between groups (P = .46). One-year survival tended to be greater in the FO group (60.0% vs 38.7%; P = .15).

CONCLUSIONS:
Compared with SOC, supplementation with omega 3 fish oil  results in increased chemotherapy efficacy without affecting the toxicity profile and may contribute to increased survival. Cancer 2011;. © 2011 American Cancer Society.

Copyright © 2011 American Cancer Society.

higher intakes of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which appear to be protective in non Hodgkin’s Lymphona (NHL)

Sunday, July 17th, 2011


In this population-based study, the dietary intake of various nutrients as well as the consumption of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids and fish consumption was compared in 591 cases of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) and compared to 460 healthy controls from a Swedish population (residents aged 18-27 years). A highly-significant inverse relationship between the intake of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) plus eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) combined and the risk of NHL was observed. With increasing intakes of DHA/EPA (combined) of >300 mg per 1000 kcal, a 40% lower risk of NHL was indicated as compared to those consuming less than 100 mg per 1000 kcal. Interestingly, no significant relationship between the consumption of total omega-3 fatty acids (which would include DHA/EPA plus a-linolenic acid which is consumed in much higher amounts than DHA/EPA) or omega-6 fatty acids and the risk of NHL was found. In addition, the authors reported that higher consumptions of fish (including salmon, mackerel, herring, cod) were also inversely correlated in a significant manner with the risk of NHL.

(It is noteworthy that the paper reports fish consumptions in fish servings/day ranging from <1.5 up to =3.0 in the higher intake sector. Upon evaluation of this paper, the DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute contacted the lead author regarding an apparent error and has been assured by the lead author that the reported fish servings ‘per day’ as reported should actually have been in fish servings ‘per week’.)

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) – Lymphomas are cancers of the immune system involving lymphocytes (white blood cells) which can be sub-divided into non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (NHL) and Hodgkin’s disease. In NHL, the white blood cells can progress abnormally within the lymph nodes and can also involve other organs associated with the immune system. While it may occur at any age, deaths due to NHL occur more often amongst the elderly (over the age of 65 years). Although a relatively uncommon cancer, the incidence of NHL is increasing rapidly in North America for unknown reasons.

Dr. Holub’s Comments:

Considering the surge in the frequency of NHL in North America and elsewhere during recent years, potential dietary strategies and public health advice for reducing the development of NHL are of considerable interest. This population-based study is therefore of potential importance in this regard. The higher intakes of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids which appear to be protective against NHL (>300 mg per 1000 kcal) would amount to approximately 650 mg of DHA/EPA (combined) per day based on a daily caloric intake of approximately 2,150 kcal per day. It is interesting to note that this intake (650 mg/day) is the recommended acceptable intake suggested at the ISSFAL workshop held in 1999 in Bethesda , Maryland by a group of scientific experts who met to evaluate omega-3 fatty acids for overall health (J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 18: 487-489, 1999).

As noted (see above), in Prof. Holub’s conversation and correspondence exchange with Dr. Ellen Chang (lead author of this new release), = 3.0 servings of fatty fish per week (and not per day as stated in the original text of the published paper) provided an approximate 50% lower observed incidence of NHL as compared to fatty fish servings of <1.5 per week.

Nutrient Intake and Risk of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Chang, Ellen T., et al., Am J Epidemiol. 164:1222-1232 (2006).

Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
North

Summary:

TakeOmega 3 high EPA supplements may help chemotherapy patients

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Omega-3  fish oil supplements  high in EPA may help cancer patients to prevent the muscle loss and malnutrition which commonly accompanies chemotherapy, according to new research.

EPA rich omega-3 supplements may help chemotherapy patients, say researchers.

The study, published in Cancer found that patients supplemented with 2.2 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid  per day maintained weight, muscle mass, and adipose tissue throughout approximately 10 weeks of chemotherapy despite having a mean weight loss of 6.3 percent over the previous 6 months.

In the same time, patients receiving standard treatment with no supplementation were found to loose an average of 2.3 kilograms.

“Fish oil may prevent loss of weight and muscle by interfering with some of the pathways that are altered in advanced cancer … This holds great promise because currently there is no effective treatment for cancer-related malnutrition,” said Dr. Vera Mazurak, from the University of Alberta, Canada, who led the study.

The researchers said that a nutritional intervention with two grams of fish oil (in the form of EPA) per day may provide a benefit over standard care, by allowing cancer patients to maintain weight and muscle mass during chemotherapy.

Omega-3 for the big C?

Chemotherapy can cause cancer patients to lose muscle mass and become malnourished, leading to fatigue, decreased quality of life, an inability to receive necessary treatments, and shorter survival.

The researchers explained that previous studies have suggested that supplementing the diet with fish oil – which contains omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – may help patients maintain or gain muscle mass.

To test the theory the team compared the effects of fish oil with that of standard care (with no supplementation) on weight, muscle, and fat tissue in newly referred non-small cell lung cancer patients.

Computed tomography (CT), a form of medical imaging that can precisely quantify skeletal muscle, was used by the researchers to assess the effects of EPA supplementation on skeletal muscle in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

“The efficacy of fish oil to prevent muscle loss has been the focus of several studies, but to the best of our knowledge the current study is the first to use CT images to provide a direct measurement of the effect of fish oil on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue depots,” said the researchers.

They added that the study was also unique in using an early intervention in newly referred patients –with the goal of preventing weight and muscle loss during chemotherapy.

Study details

Mazurak and her colleagues reported that 40 patients completed the study; with 16 receiving EPA fish oil supplementation (at a dose of 2.2 grams of EPA per day), and 24 patients receiving standard care.

Skeletal muscle and adipose tissue were measured using CT images, whilst blood was collected and weight was recorded at baseline and throughout chemotherapy.

The authors reported that patients receiving standard care experienced an average weight loss of 2.3 kilograms, whereas patients receiving EPA supplementation maintained their weight.

Blood analyses revealed that the patients with the largest rise in bloodstream EPA concentrations also had the greatest muscle mass gains.

Mazurak and co-workers reported that nearly 70 percent of those in the fish oil group either maintained their pre-chemotherapy muscle mass or gained mass. By comparison, less than 30 percent of the non-fish oil group maintained their original muscle mass, they added.

Fishy benefit

They research team said the results of the study indicate that supplementation with EPA fish oil reduces muscle and adipose tissue wasting in lung cancer patients, and provides a benefit over patients treated with standard care and receiving chemotherapy.

Mazurak and her colleagues noted that fish oil may be beneficial to patients with other forms of cancer and other chronic diseases that are associated with malnutrition, as well as to elderly individuals who are at risk for muscle loss. However, they noted that the results of the current study “require verification in larger randomized tria

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