Fish, Unsaturated Fatty Acid & Pancreatic Cancer

Fish, Unsaturated Fatty Acid & Pancreatic Cancer

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Title: Fish, n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption, and pancreatic cancer risk in Japanese: a large, population-based, prospective cohort study

Author: Akihisa et al

Journal: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2015; 102: 1490-1497)

Objective: To investigate the association between fish and n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption and pancreatic cancer risk in a population based, prospective study in Japanese men and women.

Background

Pancreatic cancer is a very difficult disease to diagnose and treat because by the time you become symptomatic and are diagnosed, you often have a highly aggressive and potentially metastatic disease.  The best treatment is prevention!

Known risk factors for developing pancreatic cancer include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic pancreatitis

The influence of diet has been researched but there are no convincing evidence that certain food types increase or decrease your risk of pancreatic cancer.

n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are known to have a wide variety of health benefits including reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. It would be helpful to know if these benefits extend to reduction in pancreatic cancer risk.

Methods

The authors used The Japan Public Health Center–based Prospective Study (JPHC study), which has enrolled 140,420 subjects.

They analyzed data on 82,024 eligible participants aged 45–74 y without a history of cancer who responded to a validated food-frequency questionnaire.

Participants were followed through from 1995 to 2010.

Results

During 1,068,774 person-years of follow-up, 449 newly diagnosed pancreatic cancers were identified.

Comparing the lowest quartile of fish intake with the highest quartile and assessing for pancreatic cancer risk, they found

  • n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (EPA+DPA+DHA): 30% risk reduction [HR 0.70 (95% CI: 0.51, 0.95; P-trend = 0.07)]
  • DHA or docosahexaenoic acid: 31% risk reduction [HR 0.69 (95% CI: 0.51, 0.94; P-trend = 0.03)]

They compared associations for total fish, n–3 PUFA, EPA, and DPA consumption which presented similar trends but not statistically significant results.

Conclusions

High consumption of fish containing n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, most notably DHA, reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Docosahexaenoic acid had the most significant reduction, this may be associated with it’s potent anti-inflammatory effect.

This was done in a cohort of japanese adults with a high fish diet, how it applies to the general population remains to be seen.

Original Article

Fish, n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption, and pancreatic cancer risk in Japanese: a large, population-based, prospective cohort study

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