Intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and risk of ovarian cancer

Cancer Causes and Control, 09/05/2012

Ibiebele TI et al. – The data provide no evidence of a protective role for n–3 fatty acids in ovarian carcinogenesis. The benefit, if any, of higher intake of n–6 fatty acids is due to general properties of the food sources, rather than due to the n–6 fatty acids per se.


  • Participants in the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study (1,366 cases and 1,414 population controls) self-completed risk factor and food frequency questionnaires.
  • Logistic regression models were used to calculate adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI).


  • The authors found no association between intake of total n-3 fatty acids from foods, or the individual n-3 fatty acids—alpha-linolenic, eicosapentaenoic, docosapentaenoic, docosahexaenoic acids—and ovarian cancer risk.
  • High intake of total n-6 fatty acids was inversely associated with risk (OR for highest vs. lowest category 0.78, 95 % CI 0.60–1.00, p-trend 0.04); however, the association was restricted to n-6 fatty acids from avocado, vegetables, and nuts.
  • Neither higher intake of the individual n-6 fatty acids nor the ratio of n-3 to n-6 fatty acids was associated with ovarian cancer risk.
  • They found no evidence that risk varied by supplement use.

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