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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Inhibit the Growth of Human Melanoma in a Murine Model
Deepika Nehra, MD1,2, Erica M. Fallon, MD1,3, Hau D. Le, MD1,3, Amy H. Pan, BA1, Sarah Carlson, MD1,3, Paul D. Mitchell, MS1, Mark Puder, MD, PhD1
1Department of Surgery and The Vascular Biology Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA; 2Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston MA; 3Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA

Background: Melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer, accounting for 79% of all skin cancer deaths. Emerging evidence suggests that the omega-6/omega-3 ratio plays an important role in many health conditions. We aim to determine the effect of dietary omega-3 fatty acids on melanoma tumor growth and fatty acid profiles in a murine subcutaneous xenograft model of human melanoma.
Methods: Five-week old SCID mice were randomized into three diet groups (n=20/group). In each group 10% of calories were provided as fat as: soybean oil (omega-6-rich), hydrogenated coconut oil (essential fatty acid deficient [EFAD]) or a 20:1 ratio DHA:AA (omega-3-rich). After three weeks of dietary pre-treatment, human melanoma cells were subcutaneously implanted in the left flank. Animals were euthanized four weeks post-implantation.
Results: The median tumor weight and volume were 80% and 73% smaller in the omega-3 rich diet group compared the omega-6 rich diet group (p=0.02 and p=0.007, respectively). All tissues from mice on the EFAD diet and no tissues from mice on the omega-6-rich or omega-3 rich diets were EFAD. The tumor omega-6/omega-3 ratios were 3.8:1 and 0.4:1 in the omega-6 rich and omega-3 rich diet groups, respectively. Similarly, the serum omega-6/omega-3 ratios were 4.8:1 and 0.7:1 in the omega-6 rich and omega-3 rich diet groups, respectively.
Conclusion: Dietary omega-3 fatty acids have an inhibitory effect on in vivo human melanoma tumor growth.

Table 1. Median [Q1 (1st quartile), Q3 (3rd quartile)] tumor weight and volume.


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