Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the world. Although there has been progress in cancer treatment, triple negative breast cancer remains a challenge. Lipid metabolism is more activated in this form of breast cancer and understanding how bioactive molecules can be targeted and modulated is essential to improving patient outcomes.

DHA and Delta-tocotrienols have been largely studied separately on their effect on tumor growth reduction combined with conventional therapies.

According to a new study published two weeks ago in Nutrients, researchers demonstrated that the combination of DHA and Delta-tocotrienol shows promise in breast cancer.

Tocotrienols are specific isomers of vitamin E that have been previously shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in chronic disease. In addition, tocotrienol isomers have superior antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory effects compared to tocopherols.  DHA has been used successfully as an adjunct to cancer treatments increasing their efficacy without adverse effects. The combination of both of these weakly investigated, however, it has been described to have a positive synergistic effect.

This study demonstrated that DHA and Delta-tocotrienol triggered a reduction in lipid droplet biosynthesis, a marker of breast cancer aggressiveness where this was not seen with DHA alone suggesting that the combination may have an impact on breast cancer aggressiveness.

Triple negative breast cancer has a complex biology and does not respond to hormonal therapies. This type of cancer has a poorer outcome. This study demonstrates that cell proliferation can be altered through lipid droplet modulation, which plays a role in breast cancer aggressiveness.

DHA is known for inducing reactive oxygen species in breast cancer cells, however, Delta-tocotrienol reduces reactive oxygen species due to its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This further supports that Delta-tocotrienol can modulate DHA’s effects on lipid droplet biogenesis.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Pizato N, Kiffier LFMV, et al.  Omega 3-DHA and Delta-Tocotrienol Modulate Lipid Droplet Biogenesis and Lipophagy in Breast Cancer Cells: the Impact in Cancer Aggressiveness. Nutrients. 2019 May 28; 11(6).

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