Cancer Res Treat.  2020 Jul;52(3):815-829. 10.4143/crt.2019.380.

G Protein–Coupled Receptor 30 Mediates the Anticancer Effects Induced by Eicosapentaenoic Acid in Ovarian Cancer Cells

  • 1State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Medical School of Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
  • 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Xiamen Chang Gung Hospital, Xiamen, China
  • 3Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
  • 4Department of Pathology, Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, The Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School, Nanjing, China
  • 5Biology Science Institutes, Chongqing Medical University, Yuzhong, China


While numerous epidemiological studies have indicated that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have anticancer properties in various cancers, the effects and mechanisms of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in ovarian cancer cell growth are poorly understood.
Materials and Methods
ES2 ovarian clear cell carcinoma cells and SKOV3 adenocarcinoma cells were treated with palmitic acid or EPA, followed by flow cytometry and cell counting to measure apoptosis and proliferation, respectively. A modified protein lipid overlay assay was used to further verify whether EPA was a ligand of G protein–coupled receptor 30 (GPR30) in ES2 cells. The levels of apoptosis-related genes, phosphorylated AKT, and phosphorylated ERK1/2 were detected to explore the underlying mechanism. Finally, inhibitory effect of EPA on tumor growth via GPR30 was determined in vitro and in vivo.
EPA suppressed ES2 ovarian clear cell carcinoma cells growth via GPR30, a novel EPA receptor, by inducing apoptosis. As a ligand of GPR30, EPA activated the GPR30-cAMP– protein kinase A signaling pathway. When GPR30 was suppressed by siRNA or its inhibitor G15, the antiproliferative action of EPA was impaired. Furthermore, EPA inhibited tumor growth by blocking the activation of AKT and ERK. In the mouse xenograft model, EPA decreased tumor volume and weight through GPR30 by blocking tumor cell proliferation.
These results confirm that EPA is a tumor suppressor in human ovarian clear cell carcinoma cells and functions through a novel fatty acid receptor, GPR30, indicating a mechanistic linkage between omega-3 fatty acids and cancers.


Eicosapentaenoic acid; GPR30; Ovarian neoplasms; Cell proliferation
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