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Study Confirms Link Between Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer

Consumption of fatty fish and fish-oil supplements linked to 71% higher risk (July 11)

A second prospective study by scientists at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash., has confirmed the link between high blood concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Published in the online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the latest findings indicate that high concentrations of EPA, DPA, and DHA — the three anti-inflammatory and metabolically related fatty acids derived from fatty fish and fish-oil supplements — are associated with a 71% increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer. The study also found a 44% increase in the risk for low-grade prostate cancer and an overall 43% increase in the risk for all prostate cancers.

The increase in risk for high-grade prostate cancer is important because those tumors are more likely to be fatal, the report says.

The findings confirm a 2011 study published by the same scientific team that reported a similar link between high blood concentrations of DHA and a more than doubling of the risk for developing high-grade prostate cancer. The latest study also confirms results from a large European study.

“The consistency of these findings suggests that these fatty acids are involved in prostate tumorigenesis, and recommendations to increase long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake, in particular through supplementation, should consider its potential risks,” the authors wrote.

Sources: Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center; July 11, 2013; and JNCI; July 10, 2013.

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