DHA may boost the cancer-fighting power of a new type of drug, according to a recent study. UC Davis scientists found that the fatty acid combined with regorafenib, an oral cancer drug, reduced the ability of kidney cancer cells to invade other cells and slowed their growth.
About 62,700 new cases of kidney cancer (39,650 in men and 23,050 in women) are diagnosed in the U.S. annually, with about 14,240 deaths each year from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.
Regorafenib is one of a new generation of anti-cancer drugs that attack tyrosine kinases—enzymes that activate other proteins. Unfortunately, kidney cancers often mutate to resist these therapies. "Most renal cell carcinomas learn to escape therapy after a couple of years," Robert Weiss, professor of medicine at UC Davis, chief of nephrology at Sacramento VA Medical Center and head of the kidney cancer working group at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a release from the center. The study’s results are promising, as they suggest that a "simple additive, which is completely nontoxic, could have a positive effect on disease, even rescuing regorafenib and similar therapies from resistance," he said.
The researchers tested the combination in cancer cell lines and in human tumors in mice. They found that together, DHA and regorafenib killed kidney cancers cells in both models. Their results were published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.
The study is not the first to suggest the cancer-fighting potential of omegas. One recent study found women with the highest consumption of fish oil had a 34 percent lower risk of death during the 15 years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.