eicosapentaenoic acid

Definition / meaning of eicosapentaenoic acid

An essential, polyunsaturated, 20-carbon omega-3 fatty acid with anti-inflammatory and potential antineoplastic and chemopreventive activities. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may activate caspase 3, resulting in apoptosis in susceptible tumor cell populations. In addition, this agent may inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), resulting in inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis and prostaglandin-mediated inflammatory processes.

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The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/)

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