Effects of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids on IGF-I receptor signalling in colorectal cancer cells

Hila Seti, Alicia Leikin-Frenkel, Haim Werner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system plays a critical role in normal growth and development as well as in malignant states. Most of the biological activities of the IGFs are mediated by the IGF-IR, which is over-expressed in most tumours and cancer cell lines. Fatty acids have critical roles in both systemic physiological processes (e.g. metabolism) and cellular events (e.g. proliferation, apoptosis, signal transduction, and gene expression). Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA) are essential fatty acids of the omega-3 and omega-6 families, respectively. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential interactions between fatty acids and the IGF signal transduction pathways, and to evaluate the impact of this interplay on colon cancer cells survival and proliferation. Results of Western blot analyses revealed that ALA and LA enhanced the ligand-induced IGF-IR phosphorylation and, in addition, increased receptor phosphorylation in an IGF-I independent manner. Furthermore, fatty acid treatment led to phosphorylation of downstream signalling molecules, including Akt and Erk. In addition, FACS analysis and apoptosis measurements indicated that ALA and LA have a potential mitogenic effect on HCT116 cells, as reflected by the number of cells in S phase and by a reduction of PARP cleavage, implying a reduction in apoptotic activity. In summary, our results provide evidence that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids modulate IGF-I action in colon cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-136
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Colon cancer
  • Fatty acids
  • IGF-I receptor
  • Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I)


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