Research Papers:

Prevention of diabetes-promoted colorectal cancer by (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids and (n-3) PUFA mimetic

Anna Algamas-Dimantov, Einav Yehuda-Shnaidman, Rachel Hertz, Irena Peri, Jacob Bar-Tana and Betty Schwartz _

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:9851-9863. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2453

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Anna Algamas-Dimantov1,*, Einav Yehuda-Shnaidman1,*, Rachel Hertz2, Irena Peri1, Jacob Bar-Tana2 and Betty Schwartz1

1 Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

2 Department of Human Nutrition and Metabolism, Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel

* These authors contributed equally to this work


Betty Schwartz, email:

Keywords: Colorectal cancer, diabetes, obesity

Received: July 29, 2014 Accepted: September 07, 2014 Published: September 08, 2014


The global obesity / diabetes epidemic has resulted in robust increase in the incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC). Epidemiological, animal and human studies have indicated efficacy of (n-3) PUFA in chemoprevention of sporadic and genetic-driven CRC. However, diabetes-promoted CRC presents a treatment challenge that surpasses that of sporadic CRC. This report analyzes the efficacy of (n-3) PUFA generated by the fat-1 transgene that encodes an (n-6) to (n-3) PUFA desaturase, and of synthetic (n-3) PUFA mimetic (MEDICA analog), to suppress CRC development in carcinogen-induced diabetes-promoted animal model. Carcinogen-induced CRC is shown here to be promoted by the diabetes context, in terms of increased aberrant crypt foci (ACF) load, cell proliferation and epithelial dedifferentiation, being accompanied by increase in the expression of HNF4α, β-catenin, and β-catenin-responsive genes. Incorporating the fat-1 transgene in the diabetes context, or oral MEDICA treatment, resulted in ameliorating the diabetic phenotype and in abrogating CRC, with decrease in ACF load, cell proliferation and the expression of HNF-4α, β-catenin, and β-catenin-responsive genes. The specificity of (n-3) PUFA in abrogating CRC development, as contrasted with enhancing CRC by (n-6) PUFA, was similarly verified in CRC cell lines. These findings may indicate prospective therapeutic potential of (n-3) PUFA or MEDICA in the management of CRC, in particular diabetes-promoted CRC.

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