According to anarticle published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, HER-2 positivecancer is an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer that affects 25 percentof women.
HER-2 is a growth promoting protein found on all breast cells, andbreast cancer cells with excessive amounts of HER-2 are considered HER-2positive (American Cancer Society). Professor David Ma from the University of Guelph states there are indicationsthat omega-3 fatty acids are ‘protective against cancer’. The article explainsthat there are three different types of omega-3 fatty acids, which includea-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid(DHA). The article also clarifies that ALA is the plant-based omega-3 fromseeds and oils, whereas, EPA and DHA are omega-3s found in aquatic organismssuch as fish, algae, and phytoplankton. ProfessorMa states, “”It’s known that EPA and DHA can inhibit breast tumour growth,but no one has looked directly at how effective these omega-3s are compared toALA.” Therefore, Ma decided to completea study comparing plant-derived and marine-derived omega-3s and theirrespective effects on HER-2 breast cancer tumor growth. The study was conductedby giving mice either plant-based or marine-based omega-3 fatty acids.
The omega-3swere given to the mice before any tumors had developed. Ma concluded that marine-derived omega-3s are’eight times more effective’ in suppressing tumor development and growth. Themice given the EPA and DHA omega-3s had thirty percent less tumors, and the sizeof the tumors was decreased by sixty to seventy percent. Ma goes on to explain humans would need to havetwo to three servings of fish per week to incur the same benefits and notes thatEPA and DHA supplements would provide similar outcomes in cancer prevention. Theprofessor hypothesizes that the benefits of the marine-based omega-3s on this typeof cancer presumably means other types of cancers would incur similar benefits.