BACKGROUND: Dietary supplementation with leucine and fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) has previously been shown to reduce cachexia-related outcomes in C26 tumour-bearing mice. To further explore associated processes and mechanisms we investigated changes in plasma Ca2+ levels, the involvement of parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP), and its possible interactions with cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2). METHODS: CD2F1 mice were subcutaneously inoculated with C26 adenocarcinoma cells or sham treated and divided in: (1) controls, (2) tumour-bearing controls, and (3) tumour-bearing receiving experimental diets. After 20 days, body and organ masses and total plasma Ca2+ levels were determined. Furthermore, effects of DHA, EPA and leucine on production of PTHrP were studied in cultured C26 cells. RESULTS: The combination of leucine and fish oil reduced tumour-associated hypercalcemia. Plasma Ca2+ levels negatively correlated with carcass mass and multiple organ masses. DHA was able to reduce PTHrP production by C26 cells in vitro. Results indicate that this effect occurred independently of COX-2 inhibition. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that cancer-related hypercalcemia may be ameliorated by a nutritional intervention rich in leucine and fish oil. The effect of fish oil possibly relates to a DHA-induced reduction of PTHrP excretion by the tumour.
- fish oil