Research Papers:

DPA shows comparable chemotherapy sensitizing effects as EPA upon cellular incorporation in tumor cells

Francina J. Dijk _, Miriam van Dijk, Bram Dorresteijn and Klaske van Norren

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:5983-5992. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27236

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Francina J. Dijk1, Miriam van Dijk1, Bram Dorresteijn1 and Klaske van Norren2

1 Danone Nutricia Research, Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition, Utrecht, The Netherlands

2 Nutritional Biology, Department of Human Nutrition and Health, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Correspondence to:

Francina J. Dijk,email: [email protected]

Keywords: DPA; fish oil; nutrition; chemotherapy; cancer

Received: June 18, 2019     Accepted: September 24, 2019     Published: October 15, 2019


Dietary supplementation with ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has been reported to enhance the sensitivity of tumor cells towards chemotherapy. Most enhancing effects are described for ω-3 PUFAs EPA and DHA; less evidence is available with the intermediate DPA. We studied the chemotherapy enhancing effects of EPA, DPA and DHA in murine colon C26 adenocarcinoma cells and showed that DPA displayed similar chemosensitizing effects as EPA. Moreover, EPA supplementation increased cellular DPA content. In a C26 tumor-bearing mouse model, we studied the incorporation of ω-3 PUFA in tumor and skeletal muscle after a diet with different ω-3 PUFA sources. Although little DPA was present in the fatty acid food sources, in those that contained considerable EPA concentrations, DPA levels were higher in tumor and muscle tissue. From these studies, we conclude that EPA and DPA show chemosensitizing effects and that intake of EPA or EPA-containing nutrition leads to increased cellular DPA content by elongation. These findings support the use of ω-3 PUFA containing nutritional supplementations in cancer patients during chemotherapy treatment.

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