(HealthDay News) — For breast cancer survivors, there may be an association between inflammation, intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), and fatigue, with increased intake linked to decreased inflammation and fatigue, according to research published online March 12 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Catherine M. Alfano, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD, and colleagues conducted a study involving 633 breast cancer survivors who participated in the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle Study; provided blood samples 30 months after diagnosis; and completed the Piper Fatigue Scale and Short Form-36 vitality scale 39 months after diagnosis. Blood samples were analyzed for C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A levels.
The researchers found that, as CRP increased, behavioral and sensory fatigue scale scores increased, but the association was attenuated after adjustment for comorbidity and medication use. After full adjustment, breast cancer survivors with high CRP levels were 1.8-fold more likely to experience fatigue. Those who had higher intake of omega-6 compared with omega-3 had higher CRP levels and were more likely to experience fatigue (odds ratio for highest vs. lowest intake, 2.6).
“If confirmed by other studies, these results point toward a future trial testing whether omega-3 PUFA supplements may reduce inflammation among breast cancer survivors and whether they may also reduce fatigue, especially physical fatigue, among those suffering most from this potentially debilitating condition. Considering the high prevalence of fatigue among cancer survivors, effective treatment could have a significant health impact,” the authors write.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and nutritional supplement industries.