Objective: To study the potential chemopreventive effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-3 in Swiss mice submitted to oral and oesophageal carcinogenesis induction by 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide (4-NQO).
Study design: The animals underwent carcinogenesis induction with 50 μg/mL 4-NQO for eight weeks. The animals were divided into groups: Group I—4-NQO induction without chemoprevention, Group II—chemoprevention with the addition of 5% fish oil (FO) in their diet after 4-NQO carcinogenesis induction, and Group III—chemoprevention with 5% FO in their diet during and after 4-NQO carcinogenesis induction.
Results: The incidence of invasive oral carcinoma was: Group I (72.9%), Group II (84.2%), and Group III (64.7%); p = 0.34. The difference in the incidence of invasive oesophageal carcinoma was statistically significant: Group I (37.8%), Group II (68.4%), and Group III (29.4%); p = 0.02.
Conclusions: 4-NQO induction led to cancer in the majority of animals. Chemoprevention with FO brought no benefit in preventing the carcinogenesis process initiated by 4-NQO for oral cancer. The suggestive pro-tumour action of FO when given after tumour post-initiation seems to demonstrate that this fatty acid can potentialise the action of 4-NQO in the oesophagus carcinogenesis of the Swiss mice.