Dietary habits affect fatty acid composition of visceral adipose tissue in subjects with colorectal cancer or obesity

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Purpose Aim of this study was to identify a possible relationship among dietary fatty acids (FA) intake, FA adipose tissue (AT) profile and cancer condition in lean vs obese subjects affected or not by colorectal cancer (CRC). Actually, inadequate dietary habits together with physical inactivity are primary determinants of obesity and cancer risk. Changes in lipid metabolism play a crucial role in different types of cancer and key enzymes involved in lipid-metabolic pathways, such as stearoyl-coA-desaturase 1 (SCD-1), are differentially expressed in normal and cancer tissues. Methods Food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) were analyzed by Winfood software. FA were assessed by gas-liquid chromatography in visceral AT samples. Estimated desaturase activities were calculated as precursor FA/product FA ratio. Desaturase gene expressions were evaluated by RT-qPCR. Results Lean and obese CRC subjects showed inadequate dietary habits. In particular, lean CRC subjects showed increase in the intake of saturated FA, specifically palmitic (p = 0.0042) and stearic acid (p = 0.0091), and a corresponding reduction of monounsaturated FA consumption, in particular oleic acid (p = 0.002) with respect to lean without CRC. Estimated SCD-1 activity in AT was increased in all the groups vs lean without CRC (pANOVA = 0.029). Conclusions Unhealthy eating habits, characterizing obese and CRC subjects, may influence the visceral AT profile and contribute to the alteration of the metabolic pathways. The quality of the diet, other than the quantity, can have a main role in the establishment of inflammatory microenvironment and in metabolic changes favouring CRC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1463-1472
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Dietary intake
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Fatty acid desaturase
  • Obesity
  • Adipose tissue
  • FFQ


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