Fish oil component targets your Leukemia cancer STEM cells


Dr. Weeks’ Comment:    Fish oil component tames cancer STEM cells  –  did your oncologist tell you to take your fish oil?

“Targeting cancer stem cells is of paramount importance in successfully preventing cancer relapse.”


Blood. 2011 Dec 22;118(26):6909-19. Epub 2011 Oct 3.

Δ12-prostaglandin J3, an omega-3 fatty acid-derived metabolite, selectively ablates leukemia stem cells in mice.

Hegde S, Kaushal N, Ravindra KC, Chiaro C, Hafer KT, Gandhi UH, Thompson JT, van den Heuvel JP, Kennett MJ, Hankey P, Paulson RF, Prabhu KS.


Center for Molecular Immunology and Infectious Disease, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, 16802, USA.


Targeting cancer stem cells is of paramount importance in successfully preventing cancer relapse. Recently, in silico screening of public gene-expression datasets identified cyclooxygenase-derived cyclopentenone prostaglandins (CyPGs) as likely agents to target malignant stem cells. We show here that Δ(12)-PGJ(3), a novel and naturally produced CyPG from the dietary fish-oil ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5) alleviates the development of leukemia in 2 well-studied murine models of leukemia. IP administration of Δ(12)-PGJ(3) to mice infected with Friend erythroleukemia virus or those expressing the chronic myelogenous leukemia oncoprotein BCR-ABL in the hematopoietic stem cell pool completely restored normal hematologic parameters, splenic histology, and enhanced survival. More importantly, Δ(12)-PGJ(3) selectively targeted leukemia stem cells (LSCs) for apoptosis in the spleen and BM. This treatment completely eradicated LSCs in vivo, as demonstrated by the inability of donor cells from treated mice to cause leukemia in secondary transplantations. Given the potency of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid-derived CyPGs and the well-known refractoriness of LSCs to currently used clinical agents, Δ(12)-PGJ(3) may represent a new chemotherapeutic for leukemia that targets LSCs.

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