Inflammation is a common feature in cancer. The presence and magnitude of the chronic systemic inflammatory responses may produce progressive nutritional decline.

This study aims at investigating whether there are changes in inflammation markers and/or in nutritional status of patients with colorectal cancer undergoing chemotherapy who were supplemented with fish oil.

The clinical trial was conducted with 23 patients randomly distributed in 2 groups. The supplemented group (SG) consumed 2 g of fish oil containing 600 milligrams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for 9 wk. Nutritional and inflammatory markers status was available, both at a baseline (M0), and after 9 wk of chemotherapy (M9) in the SG and in the nonsupplemented group (NSG). Statistical analysis was conducted with STATA 11.0 software. SG and NSG presented the same baseline characteristics (P > 0.05).

Nutritional status indicators such as body mass index and body weight were modified only in the NSG when comparing baseline and M9, P = 0.03 and P = 0.01 respectively, whereas in SG these indicators did not vary.

Patients supplemented with fish oil (SG) showed a clinically relevant decrease in the C-reactive protein/albumin relation (P = 0.005). Low doses of fish oil supplement can positively modulate the nutritional status and the C-reative protein/albumin ratio.