Omega-3 fatty acids are protective against paclitaxel-induced peripheral
neuropathy: a randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial.
Author(s): Ghoreishi Z, Esfahani A, Djazayeri A, Djalali M, Golestan B, Ayromlou H,
Hashemzade S, Asghari Jafarabadi M, Montazeri V, Keshavarz SA, Darabi M.
Affiliation(s): Department of Nutrition and Biochemistry, School of Health, Tehran University of
Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Publication date & source: 2012, BMC Cancer. , 12:355
BACKGROUND: Axonal sensory peripheral neuropathy is the major dose-limiting side
effect of paclitaxel.Omega-3 fatty acids have beneficial effects on neurological
disorders from their effects on neurons cells and inhibition of the formation of
proinflammatory cytokines involved in peripheral neuropathy.
METHODS: This study was a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial to
investigate the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids in reducing incidence and
severity of paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy (PIPN). Eligible patients
with breast cancer randomly assigned to take omega-3 fatty acid pearls, 640 mg
t.i.d during chemotherapy with paclitaxel and one month after the end of the
treatment or placebo. Clinical and electrophysiological studies were performed
before the onset of chemotherapy and one month after cessation of therapy to
evaluate PIPN based on "reduced Total Neuropathy Score".
RESULTS: Twenty one patients (70%) of the group taking omega-3 fatty acid
supplement (n = 30) did not develop PN while it was 40.7%( 11 patients) in the
placebo group(n = 27). A significant difference was seen in PN incidence (OR =
0.3, .95% CI = (0.10-0.88), p = 0.029). There was a non-significant trend for
differences of PIPN severity between the two study groups but the frequencies of
PN in all scoring categories were higher in the placebo group (0.95% CI = (-2.06
-0.02), p = 0.054).
CONCLUSIONS: Omega-3 fatty acids may be an efficient neuroprotective agent for
prophylaxis against PIPN. Patients with breast cancer have a longer disease free
survival rate with the aid of therapeutical agents. Finding a way to solve the
disabling effects of PIPN would significantly improve the patients' quality of
TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov