Rapid Incorporation of ω-3 Fatty Acids Into Colonic Tissue After Oral Supplementation in Patients With Colorectal Cancer: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Intervention Trial

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Abstract

Background:

The purpose of the study was to examine whether a preoperative supplement with ω-3 fatty acids (FAs) leads to their incorporation into colonic tissue in patients scheduled for colorectal cancer surgery. This would be of interest because ω-3 FAs have potential beneficial (local) immunological effects that might benefit these patients.

Methods:

In a randomized, double-blind, prospective, placebo-controlled, single-center intervention trial, patients referred for elective colorectal cancer surgery received either an ω-3 FA-enriched oral nutrition supplement (ONS) (200 mL twice daily) providing 2.0 g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 1.0 g of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day or a standard ONS for 7 days before surgery. Tissue samples from healthy colonic tissue (mucosa and muscular layer) were obtained during surgery, and tissue fatty acid composition was analyzed by gas chromatography.

Results:

EPA was significantly higher in colonic mucosa (P = .001) and in the colonic muscular layer (P = .004) in the ω-3 FA group compared with controls. Patients in the ω-3 FA group also tended to have higher docosapentaenoic acid and DHA levels in colonic tissue.

Conclusions:

EPA is incorporated rapidly into colonic mucosa and colonic muscular layer in patients given 3 g of ω-3 FA daily for 7 days before surgery for colorectal cancer. This may lead to potential beneficially effects on (local) immune function, which might benefit these patients.

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