Effect of different types and amounts of fat on the development of mammary tumors in rodents: A review

Michael P. Fay, Laurence S. Freedman, Carolyn K. Clifford, Douglas N. Midthune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


We performed a mete-analysis on data extracted from 97 reports of experiments, involving a total of 12,803 mice or rats, studying the effect on mammary tumor incidence of different types of dietary fatty acids. Fatty acids were categorized into saturated, monounsaturated, n-6 polyunsaturated, and n-3 polyunsaturated. We modeled the relation between tumor incidence and percentage of total calories from these fatty acids using conditional logistic regression and allowing for varying effects between experiments, and for each fatty acid we estimated the effect of substituting the fatty acid calories for nonfat calories. Our results show that n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have a strong tumor-enhancing effect and that saturated fats have a weaker tumor-enhancing effect. The n-3 PUFAs have a small protective effect that is not statistically significant. There is no significant effect of monounsaturated fats. n-6 PUFAs have a stronger tumor-enhancing effect at levels under 4% of total calories, but an effect is still present at intake levels greater than 4% of calories. In addition, when the intake of n-6 PUFAs is at least 4% of calories, the n-6 PUFA effect remains stronger than the saturated fat effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3979-3988
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - 15 Sep 1997
Externally publishedYes


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