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Potential Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

Department of Dermatology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA
Photobiology Unit, Dermatology Centre, University of Manchester, Salford Royal Hospital, Manchester M6 8HD, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Lindsay Brown, Bernhard Rauch and Hemant Poudyal
J. Clin. Med. 2016, 5(2), 23;
Received: 18 November 2015 / Revised: 20 January 2016 / Accepted: 22 January 2016 / Published: 4 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Health and Disease)
Considerable circumstantial evidence has accrued from both experimental animal and human clinical studies that support a role for omega-3 fatty acids (FA) in the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Direct evidence from animal studies has shown that omega-3 FA inhibit ultraviolet radiation (UVR) induced carcinogenic expression. In contrast, increasing levels of dietary omega-6 FA increase UVR carcinogenic expression, with respect to a shorter tumor latent period and increased tumor multiplicity. Both omega-6 and omega-3 FA are essential FA, necessary for normal growth and maintenance of health and although these two classes of FA exhibit only minor structural differences, these differences cause them to act significantly differently in the body. Omega-6 and omega-3 FA, metabolized through the lipoxygenase (LOX) and cyclooxygenase (COX) pathways, lead to differential metabolites that are influential in inflammatory and immune responses involved in carcinogenesis. Clinical studies have shown that omega-3 FA ingestion protects against UVR-induced genotoxicity, raises the UVR-mediated erythema threshold, reduces the level of pro-inflammatory and immunosuppressive prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in UVR-irradiated human skin, and appears to protect human skin from UVR-induced immune-suppression. Thus, there is considerable evidence that omega-3 FA supplementation might be beneficial in reducing the occurrence of NMSC, especially in those individuals who are at highest risk. View Full-Text
Keywords: skin cancer; omega-3 fatty acids; ultraviolet radiation; prostaglandins; immune modulation skin cancer; omega-3 fatty acids; ultraviolet radiation; prostaglandins; immune modulation
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Black, H.S.; Rhodes, L.E. Potential Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer. J. Clin. Med. 2016, 5, 23.

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