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Am J Med. 1999 Jan 25;106(1A):38S-42S.

Wheat bran fiber and development of adenomatous polyps: evidence from randomized, controlled clinical trials.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia.


Mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are thought to initiate and promote the pathway to colorectal cancer, leading to hyperproliferation, the development of adenomas, and progression to gross malignancy. Intervention at any of these steps can potentially prevent the development of cancer. Several randomized, controlled trials have investigated the effect of dietary interventions, including the addition of wheat bran fiber, on the development of adenomatous polyps. In a familial adenomatous polyposis trial, patients were treated with 4 g of ascorbic acid plus 400 mg of alpha-tocopherol per day alone or with a grain fiber supplement (22.5 g/day) over a 4-year period. On an actual-intake basis, the combined intervention inhibited the development of rectal polyps. However, the Toronto Polyp Prevention Trial found no significant differences in polyp recurrence rates between patients who were counseled to follow a low-fat, high-fiber diet and patients consuming a typical Western diet with placebo fiber. A 9-month study of patients with resected colon adenomas found that dietary wheat bran fiber significantly reduced total, primary, and secondary fecal bile acid concentrations and excretion rates. Such bile acid levels are thought to be related to the risk of developing cancer. The Australian Polyp Prevention Project reported that the combination of fat reduction and a supplement of wheat bran reduced the incidence of large colorectal adenomas. These latter results suggest that intervention with a low-fat wheat bran supplemented diet inhibits the transition from smaller to larger adenomas, which may be a critical step in determining which adenomas progress to malignancy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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