Emaciation and loss of lean body mass is a frequent phenomenon observed in cancer patients. This condition leads to infection risk and a poor response to treatment, thus reducing the chances of cure. Furthermore, malnutrition is also associated with a poor quality of life. Therefore, therapies have been proposed in attempt to revert the catabolism observed in most of these patients by attenuating the inflammatory response. Among them, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may be a strategy to reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and improve metabolic substrate tolerance, decreasing protein catabolism in order to ameliorate the prognosis of cure in cancer patients. However, studies demonstrate some conflicting results of ômega-3 supplementation on immune response. On the other hand, clinical trials in cancer patients demonstrate that the inflammatory response decreases and the nutritional status improves. The aim of this paper is to elaborate a strict review of the subject.
fatty acids; cachexia; malnutrition; inflammation; neoplasms