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Effect of dietary omega-3 fatty acids on castrate-resistant prostate cancer and tumor-associated macrophages.

  • Author(s): Liang, Pei
  • Henning, Susanne M
  • Guan, Johnny
  • Grogan, Tristan
  • Elashoff, David
  • Cohen, Pinchas
  • Aronson, William J
  • et al.


M2-like macrophages are associated with the pathogenesis of castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). We sought to determine if dietary omega-3 fatty acids (ω-3 FAs) delay the development and progression of CRPC and inhibit tumor-associated M2-like macrophages.


MycCap cells were grown subcutaneously in immunocompetent FVB mice. Mice were castrated when tumors reached 300 mm2. To study effects of dietary ω-3 FAs on development of CRPC, ω-3 or ω-6 diets were started 2 days after castration and mice sacrificed after early regrowth of tumors. To study ω-3 FA effects on progression of CRPC, tumors were allowed to regrow after castration before starting the diets. M2 (CD206+) macrophages were isolated from allografts to examine ω-3 FA effects on macrophage function. Omega-3 fatty acid effects on androgen-deprived RAW264.7 M2 macrophages were studied by RT-qPCR and a migration/ invasion assay.


The ω-3 diet combined with castration lead to greater MycCap tumor regression (tumor volume reduction: 182.2 ± 33.6 mm3) than the ω-6 diet (tumor volume reduction: 148.3 ± 35.2; p = 0.003) and significantly delayed the time to CRPC (p = 0.006). Likewise, the ω-3 diet significantly delayed progression of established castrate-resistant MycCaP tumors (p = 0.003). The ω-3 diet (as compared to the ω-6 diet) significantly reduced tumor-associated M2-like macrophage expression of CSF-1R in the CRPC development model, and matrix metallopeptidase-9 (MMP-9) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the CRPC progression model. Migration of androgen-depleted RAW264.7 M2 macrophages towards MycCaP cells was reversed by addition of docosahexaenoic acid (ω-3).


Dietary omega-3 FAs (as compared to omega-6 FAs) decreased the development and progression of CRPC in an immunocompetent mouse model, and had inhibitory effects on M2-like macrophage function. Clinical trials are warranted evaluating if a fish oil-based diet can delay the time to castration resistance in men on androgen deprivation therapy, whereas further preclinical studies are warranted evaluating fish oil for more advanced CRPC.

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