Background & aims: An in vitro study showed that a lipid emulsion containing fish oil (FO) slows the growth of colon cancer cells and enhances their sensitivity to 5-fluorouracil (FU). The aim was to confirm this finding and to compare such an emulsion with an alternative to lowered n-6 fatty acid exposure. Methods: We determined the number of viable cells, apoptosis and cell cycle distribution of HT-29 cells after exposure to one of three lipid emulsions. Cell cycle distribution was also assessed after treatment with lipid emulsions and FU. Results: The lipid emulsion containing FO induced a significant growth inhibitory effect without changing the percentage of apoptotic cells. Exposure to the other lipid emulsions had no effect on growth and decreased apoptosis. Each lipid emulsion potentiated the S phase-halting effect of 1 and 10@mM FU. This effect also occurred at 0.1@mM FU when the cells were exposed to the FO containing lipid emulsion. Conclusions: A lipid emulsion containing FO has a growth inhibitory effect on a human colon adenocarcinoma cell line, an effect not due to the induction of apoptosis, and potentiated the S phase-halting effect of FU. Thus, an FO lipid emulsion may be of benefit in colorectal cancer.
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