Document Type


Date of Degree Completion


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Susan Hawk

Second Committee Member

Kelly Pritchett

Third Committee Member

Virginia Bennett


It is well documented that vitamin D and DHA have antiproliferative effects on a variety of human cancers, including breast cancer. Studies have shown that a combination approach to cancer treatment is more effective than any one treatment administered alone. In this study, human mammary epithelial cells from the MCF-7 cell line were treated with 25 μM DHA, 1 μM calcitriol, and 15 μM 5-Fluorourocil alone and in multiple combinations for 72 hours. Both DHA and 5-Fluorouracil slowed growth significantly (p < 0.05). In contrast, vitamin D did not inhibit cell growth at 1 μM. The combination of vitamin D and DHA inhibited cell growth slightly more than DHA alone. Interestingly, DHA was just as effective as 5-Fluorouracil at inhibiting cell growth. These results suggest that DHA may be just as efficacious as 5-Fluorouracil in slowing breast cancer progression and therefore may suggest a dietary approach to breast cancer treatment with low toxicity.