Some effects of linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid on the proliferation of human hepatoma cells in culture.S Afr Med J. 1984 Apr 14; 65(15):607-12.SA
In previous communications the growth-suppressive effect of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) dissolved in sodium carbonate in the culture media of malignant cells has been reported. In this study we show that linoleic acid (LA), the fatty acid precursor of GLA, had no growth-suppressive effect on human hepatoma cells in culture while a similar concentration of GLA suppressed malignant cell growth in culture by 69% after 10 days. This growth-suppressive effect must therefore be seen as an effect of GLA and not as a 'soap' effect. It has also been shown that the growth rate of human hepatoma cells in culture to which GLA was added daily for 5 consecutive days remained suppressed after the withdrawal of GLA from the growth medium for a further 5-day period. The striking difference between GLA and LA as regards growth suppression of human hepatoma cells in culture appears to imply a metabolic block in the hepatoma cells, involving the enzyme delta-6-desaturase, in the conversion of LA to GLA and thence via dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid to the prostaglandins of the 1 series.