Many data support the beneficial effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic agents in the treatment of several chronic pathologies including cancer.

Different molecular mechanisms have been proposed to explain their effects, including alterations in arachidonic acid oxidative metabolism and metabolic conversion of n-3 PUFAs to novel discovered bioactive derivatives; modification of oxidative stress; changes in cell membrane fluidity and structure and altered metabolism and function of membrane proteins. Considerable knowledge has been recently gathered on the possible beneficial effects of n-3 PUFAs administered in combination with different antineoplastic drugs and radiotherapy against melanoma, leukemia, neuroblastoma, and colon, breast, prostate, and lung cancer.

The efficacy of these combinations has been demonstrated both in vivo and in vitro, and clinical trials have also been conducted. The aim of this review is to analyze all the n-3 PUFA combinations investigated so far, their efficacy, and the possible molecular mechanisms involved.

It would be highly auspicable that the detailed analysis of the literature in this field could further support the common use of n-3 PUFAs in combination with other chemopreventive agents and warrant more clinical investigations designed to test the effectiveness of n-3 PUFA treatments coupled with conventional antineoplastic therapies.