Background: Palliative chemotherapy is aimed at increasing survival and palliating symptoms. However, the response rate to first-line chemotherapy in patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is less than 30%.
Experimental studies have shown that supplementation with fish oil (FO) can increase chemotherapy efficacy without negatively affecting nontarget tissue.
This study evaluated whether the combination of fish oil and chemotherapy (carboplatin with vinorelbine or gemcitabine) provided a benefit over standard of care (SOC) on response rate and clinical benefit from chemotherapy in patients with advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer.
Methods: Forty-six patients completed the study, n = 31 in the standard of care group and n = 15 in the fish oil group (2.5 g EPA + DHA/day).
Response to chemotherapy was determined by clinical examination and imaging. Response rate was defined as the sum of complete response plus partial response, and clinical benefit was defined as the sum of complete response, partial response, and stable disease divided by the number of patients. Toxicities were graded by a nurse before each chemotherapy cycle. Survival was calculated 1 year after study enrollment.
• Patients in the fish oil group had an increased response rate and greater clinical benefit compared with the standard of care group (60.0% vs 25.8%, P = .008; 80.0% vs 41.9%, P = .02, respectively).
• The incidence of dose-limiting toxicity did not differ between groups (P = .46).
• One-year survival tended to be greater in the fish oil group (60.0% vs 38.7%; P = .15).
Conclusions: Compared with standard of care, supplementation with fish oil results in increased chemotherapy efficacy without affecting the toxicity profile and may contribute to increased survival.
Source: Cancer, Feb 15, 2011. PMID: 21328326, by Murphy RA, Mourtzakis M, Chu QS, Baracos VE, Reiman T, Mazurak VC. Division of Human Nutrition, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. [Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]