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Cancer Res Treat.  2019 Jul;51(3):1022-1032. 10.4143/crt.2018.473.

Dietary Intake of Omega-3 fatty acids and Endocrine-related Gynecological Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies

  • 1Department of Cancer Control and Population Health, National Cancer Center Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy, Goyang, Korea.
  • 2Department of Cancer Biomedical Science, National Cancer Center Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy, Goyang, Korea.
  • 3Cancer Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Goyang, Korea.
  • 4Department of Family Medicine and Center for Cancer Prevention and Detection, National Cancer Center Hospital, Goyang, Korea.


Previous observational epidemiological studies have reported inconsistent findings on the association between dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids and endocrine-related gynecological cancer such as ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. This study aimed to investigate this association using a meta-analysis of observational studies.
We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane library by using key words related with the topic in April 2017. The pooled odd ratios (pORs), relative risks (pRRs), or hazard ratios (pHRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated based on the random-effects model. Also, we performed subgroup meta-analysis by methodological quality, types of cancer, study design, and omega-3 fatty acids.
A total of ten observational studies with six case-control and four cohort studies were included in the final meta-analysis. In the meta-analysis of all the studies, dietary intake of total omega-3 fatty acids was not significantly associated with the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers (pOR/HR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.73-1.04; I²=67.2%) (highest versus lowest intake). In the subgroup meta-analysis by type of study, there was no significant association between them in cohort studies (pHR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.63-1.67, I²=81.9%), whereas its reduced risk was observed in case-control studies (pOR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.67 to 0.98, I²=55.7%).
The current meta-analysis of observational studies suggests that there is no higher level of evidence to support the protective effect of dietary omega-3 fatty acids on endocrine-related gynecological cancer. Further prospective studies should be conducted to confirm the association.


Omega-3 fatty acids; Endometrial neoplasms; Ovarian neoplasms; Observational study; Meta-analysis

MeSH Terms

Case-Control Studies
Cohort Studies
Endometrial Neoplasms
Epidemiologic Studies
Fatty Acids, Omega-3*
Observational Study
Ovarian Neoplasms
Prospective Studies
Fatty Acids, Omega-3
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