Anticancer Effects of Essential Fatty Acids

  • D. Ravichandran
  • C. D. Johnson


Essential fatty acids (EFAs) consist of two groups of fatty acids (n-6 or omega-6, derived from linoleic acid (LA) and n-3 or omega-3, derived from alpha-linolenic acid (LNA)) that cannot be synthesised de novo, and thus must be supplied in the diet. Once supplied, these fatty acids can be elongated and/or desaturated to produce other fatty acids within that omega family (Figure 1). EFAs are important structural constituents of all cellular membranes. Changes in plasma membrane fatty acid composition can affect the fluidity of the membrane and ion or substrate transport into the cells, the activity of membrane-associated enzymes and the functioning of receptors and/or signal transduction processes. EFAs are also the precursors of eicosanoids: prostaglandins, leukotrienes and thromboxanes; and are necessary to maintain the impermeability barrier of the skin and for cholesterol transport and metabolism.


Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Essential Fatty Acid Gamma Linolenic Acid Prostaglandin Leukot Essent Fatty Acid Lithium Oleate 
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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1999

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  • D. Ravichandran
  • C. D. Johnson

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