Lung cancer is the single greatest cause of death from malignancy in both men and women in the US, exceeding that of the next three combined leading ncers (prostate, colon and breast cancer). Although smoking cessation is a key to lung cancer prevention, it remains a challenge. Finding effective preventive and treatment strategies for lung cancer are desperately needed. Cyclooygenase-2 (COX-2), a key mediator of inflammation, is an important target for lung cancer therapy and prevention because approximately 70% of lung adenocarcinomas have overexpression of COX-2 and regular use of aspirin and other NSAIDs is associated with a reduced risk of developing lung cancer in animal models and smokers. Regardless of the cardiac toxicity of selective COX-2 inhibitors, a growing body of evidence supports the etiological impact of COX-2 in lung cancer. Fish oil represents an attractive series of n-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids) that modulate COX-2 activity while having beneficial cardiovascular effects. The strong link between COX-2 and fish oil-induced chemoprevention has been strengthen by recent findings of high consumption of long chain n-3 fatty acids lowering their risk of prostate cancer and this protective effect being more pronounced in men carrying a particular COX-2 variant. The ultimate goal of this proposal is to define the optimal dose of EPA and relevant fish oil products to maximize the chemopreventive effects of fish oil against human lung cancer and to identify an appropriate molecular target of fish oil for prevention of lung cancer. We will determine the chemopreventive role of EPA and fish oils using a urethane- induced mouse lung cancer model with and without expression of COX-2, as well as the K-ras mutation mouse lung model. We will also evaluate the molecular mechanisms associated with EPA-induced tumor growth suppression by studying the biological effects of PGE2 and the EPA metabolite PGE3 in premalignant and lung cancer cells and their interaction with PGE2 receptors. The critical role of EPA-derived PGE3 in lung cancer prevention using the urethane-induced mouse lung cancer model with or without expression of EP receptor, particularly EP2 and EP4 receptors, will be further studied. This proposal intends to define a novel targeted natural chemopreventive agent against lung cancer.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed research involves studies of fish oil-derived eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and pharmaceutical grade FDA approved fish oil product, which we hypothesize to be very effective for prevention of lung cancer development. Initial promising work using an in vivo mouse lung carcinogenesis model, which mimics the development of human adenocarcinoma, will be expanded to further identify the specific mechanisms of action of fish oil-derived n-3 fatty acids in lung cancer prevention. Given that fish oil has been widely accepted by US population as safe and has shown promise in inflammatory and cardiac diseases as well as possessing anticancer activity, the results from these studies will determine if sufficient promising data can be obtained to warrant clinical evaluation of this particular dietary supplement in high risk targeted populations with the goal of delaying or preventing the onset of lung cancer in this particular population.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Chemo/Dietary Prevention Study Section (CDP)
Program Officer
Kim, Young S
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Other Domestic Higher Education
United States
Zip Code
Pan, Yong; Jiang, Yan; Tan, Lin et al. (2015) Deletion of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibits K-ras-induced lung carcinogenesis. Oncotarget 6:38816-26
Yang, Peiying; Jiang, Yan; Fischer, Susan M (2014) Prostaglandin E3 metabolism and cancer. Cancer Lett 348:1-11
Yang, Peiying; Cartwright, Carrie; Chan, Diana et al. (2014) Anticancer activity of fish oils against human lung cancer is associated with changes in formation of PGE2 and PGE3 and alteration of Akt phosphorylation. Mol Carcinog 53:566-77
Pirman, David A; Efuet, Ekem; Ding, Xiao-Ping et al. (2013) Changes in cancer cell metabolism revealed by direct sample analysis with MALDI mass spectrometry. PLoS One 8:e61379