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AACR: Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Prevent Colon Cancer

And, antioxidant compound may help prevent recurrence of colorectal metachronous adenomas

TUESDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A high intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, and an antioxidant compound may decrease patients' risk of developing new polyps of the large bowel, according to research presented this week at the American Association for Cancer Research's Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, held from Dec. 6 to 9 in Houston.

In one study, Sangmi Kim, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and colleagues analyzed data on 1,509 Caucasians (716 cancer cases and 787 controls) and 369 African-Americans (213 cancer cases and 156 controls). In Caucasians, but not African-Americans, they found that subjects in the highest quartile for consumption of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids had a 39 percent reduced risk of colorectal cancer compared to those in the lowest quartile.

In a second study, Luigina Bonelli, M.D., of the National Institute for Cancer Research in Genoa, Italy, and colleagues randomly assigned 411 patients with a history of colorectal polyps to receive either placebo or an antioxidant compound containing 200 µg of selenomethionnine, 30 mg of zinc, 6,000 IU of vitamin A, 180 mg of vitamin C, and 30 mg of vitamin E. After five years, they found that the compound was associated with a 40 percent reduction in the incidence of metachronous adenomas of the large bowel.

"Whether or not the possible benefit of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids varies by race warrants further evaluation," Kim and colleagues conclude.

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