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, as this form of cancer has a complex biology, a poorer outcome, and does not respond to hormonal therapies. 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.
The effects of DHA and delta-tocotrienol individually on tumor growth reduction combined with conventional therapies have been largely studied. Now, in 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 shown to help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in chronic disease. In addition, tocotrienol isomers have superior antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory effects compared to tocopherol isomers. DHA has been used successfully as an adjunct to cancer treatments, increasing their efficacy without adverse effects. The combination of both of these was 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. This effect was not seen with DHA alone, suggesting that the combination may be what is making the difference. Results of this study may prove beneficial for triple negative breast cancer, demonstrating that cell proliferation can be altered through lipid droplet modulation, and thus, affecting the aggressiveness of the cancer.
DHA is known for inducing reactive oxygen species in breast cancer cells; however, delta-tocotrienol helps to reduce reactive oxygen species due to its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This further supports the concept 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).