Kaposi sarcoma is a HIV-associated malignancy caused by human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) that occurs at highest incidence in sub-Saharan Africa. Kaposi sarcoma patients often present with inflammatory symptoms associated with higher mortality.
We conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study in Uganda to test whether omega-3supplementation could reduce inflammation in HIV and HHV-8 coinfected adults. Patients with acute illness, AIDS, or advanced Kaposi sarcoma were ineligible, as were pregnant women. Participant IDs were pre-randomized, blocked by Kaposi sarcoma status, to either the omega-3 or placebo arm.
Omega-3 participants received a 3-g pill dose daily for 12 weeks (1.8-g eicosapentaenoic acid, 1.2-mg docosapentaenoic acid); placebo participants received 44.8 mg of high oleic safflower oil that appeared indistinguishable from the active supplement. Intervention effects were evaluated as the baseline-adjusted mean difference after 12 weeks between omega-3 and placebo participants in concentrations of fatty acids, inflammatory cytokines, and immune cells.
The final study population included 56 Kaposi sarcoma patients and 11 Kaposi sarcoma-negative, HIV and HHV-8-positive participants randomized to receive either omega-3 (N = 33) or placebo (N = 34). Inflammatory cytokine IL-6 concentrations decreased in omega-3 participants (-0.78 pg/ml) but increased in placebo participants (+3.2 pg/ml; P = 0.04). We observed a trend toward decreased IL-6 after omega-3 supplementation specific to Kaposi sarcoma patients (P = 0.08). CD8 T-cell counts tended to increase in the omega-3 arm Kaposi sarcoma patients (+60 cells/μl), in contrast to decreases (-47 cells/μl) among placebo (P = 0.11).
Omega-3 supplementation decreased IL-6 concentrations among HIV and HHV-8 coinfected Ugandans, which may have clinical benefit for Kaposi sarcoma patients.