Genes Boost Fish Oils' Effect Against Breast Cancer

Women whose bodies do poor job of eliminating oils get most health benefit

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FRIDAY, Sept. 24, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Women with certain genes get an extra protective boost when they take fish oils called marine n-3 fatty acids that may reduce the risk of breast cancer.

That's the conclusion of a study by researchers at the University of Southern California and the National University of Singapore.

The study found that women whose bodies do a poor job of eliminating the fish oils' byproducts seem to derive the most benefit from taking them. It's believed the fish oils' byproducts provide the cancer-fighting properties.

"In this study, we found that women with certain common DNA patterns experienced more breast cancer protection from marine n-3 fatty acids than women with other common patterns," study author Dr. Manuela Gago-Dominguez, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.

Researchers examined data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study of diet and cancer risk in more than 63,000 Chinese women and men who live in Singapore.

The findings could help scientists better understand how fish oils may protect against cancer.

The study appeared in the Sept. 21 online issue of Carcinogenesis.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about breast cancer prevention.

SOURCE: University of Southern California, news release, Sept. 21, 2004

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