Public Release:  Omega-3 fatty acids may help improve treatment and quality of life in cancer patients

American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.)

Adding omega-3 fatty acids to anti-tumor medications may improve treatment response and quality of life for cancer patients according to a new study by researchers at the University Hospitals of Leicester in the United Kingdom.

The study, published today in the OnlineFirst version of the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (JPEN), the research journal of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.), examined 50 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

Patients were given 1,000 mg of gemcitabine weekly followed by up to 100 g of omega-3 rich lipid emulsion for three weeks followed by a rest week. This was continued for up to six cycles, progression, unacceptable toxicity, patient request, or death.

The study found evidence of activity in response and disease stabilization rates, reduction in liver metastasis volume, and improved quality of life scores in this group of patients.

While this is the first study to use omega-3 fatty acids with a chemotherapy agent in a cancer setting, the researchers believe the results are encouraging enough to warrant further investigation in a randomized phase III trial.

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A publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.), the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (JPEN) is the premier scientific journal of nutrition and metabolic support. It publishes original, peer-reviewed studies that define the cutting edge of basic and clinical research in the field. It explores the science of optimizing the care of patients receiving enteral or intravenous therapies. All published JPEN articles are available online at http://pen.sagepub.com.

The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy and metabolism. Founded in 1976, A.S.P.E.N. is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 6,000 members from around the world, A.S.P.E.N. is a community of dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students, and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition support clinical practice, research, and education. For more information about A.S.P.E.N., please visit http://www.nutritioncare.org.

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