A Critical Review on the Effect of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) on Cancer Cell Cycle Progression
Department of Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, 4-126 Li Ka Shing Center for Health Research Innovation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1, Canada
Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1784; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18081784
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 16 August 2017 / Published: 17 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Health and Disease: New Knowledge)
Globally, there were 14.1 million new cancer diagnoses and 8.2 million cancer deaths in 2012. For many cancers, conventional therapies are limited in their successes and an improved understanding of disease progression is needed in conjunction with exploration of alternative therapies. The long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), has been shown to enhance many cellular responses that reduce cancer cell viability and decrease proliferation both in vitro and in vivo. A small number of studies suggest that DHA improves chemotherapy outcomes in cancer patients. It is readily incorporated into cancer cell membranes and, as a result there has been considerable research regarding cell membrane initiated events. For example, DHA has been shown to mediate the induction of apoptosis/reduction of proliferation in vitro and in vivo. However, there is limited research into the effect of DHA on cell cycle regulation in cancer cells and the mechanism(s) by which DHA acts are not fully understood. The purpose of the current review is to provide a critical examination of the literature investigating the ability of DHA to stall progression during different cell cycle phases in cancer cells, as well as the consequences that these changes may have on tumour growth, independently and in conjunction with chemotherapy.