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J Nutr. 2002 Aug;132(8):2312-8.

A diet containing alpha-cellulose and fish oil reduces aberrant crypt foci formation and modulates other possible markers for colon cancer risk in azoxymethane-treated rats.

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  • 1CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition, Adelaide, South Australia.


There is a need for better understanding of the roles of dietary fats and fibers in colon cancer risk. We examined the effect of different dietary fiber and fat sources on an azoxymethane (AOM)-induced colon cancer in rats. In a 2 x 3 factorial design, rats were fed a semipurified diet containing soy-derived fiber (Fibrim), alpha-cellulose (Solkafloc) or resistant starch (RS; Hi-maize) at 10 g dietary fiber/100 g diet, combined with fish oil (FO) or sunflower seed oil (SSO) at 10 g/100 g diet, and lard added to all diets at 10 g/100 g, to provide a total of 20 g mixed fat/100 g diet. Sprague-Dawley rats (28 d of age) consumed diets for 4 wk and then two doses of AOM (15 mg/kg body) were administered 1 wk apart by subcutaneous injection. Rats were killed after 13 wk of consuming experimental diets. Colons were fixed in formalin and aberrant crypt foci (ACF) were quantified after staining. ACF counts were higher (+66%, P < 0.01) in rats fed SSO and RS, than in those fed alpha-cellulose and FO. Rats fed FO had 19% fewer ACF than those fed SSO (P < 0.05). alpha-Cellulose was associated with the highest cecal butyrate concentration (P < 0.001), the highest beta-glucuronidase specific activity (P < 0.001) and the lowest cecal water cytotoxicity (P < 0.001) relative to soy fiber- and RS-fed rats. There were inverse correlations between the number of ACF and cecal butyrate concentration (r = -0.33, P < 0.05) and between cecal water cytotoxicity and beta-glucuronidase activity (r = -0.70, P < 0.001). The greatest protection was associated with alpha-cellulose as the fiber source and FO as the fat source as measured by colon ACF numbers in rats.

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