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Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Aug;90(2):354-61. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27630. Epub 2009 Jun 24.

Fish consumption and markers of colorectal cancer risk: a multicenter randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Netherlands.



Diet is a major factor in the etiology of colorectal cancer, with high fish consumption possibly decreasing colorectal cancer risk, as was shown in several observational studies. To date, no intervention trials have examined the possible beneficial effects of fish intake on colorectal cancer risk.


The objective was to investigate the effects of a 6-mo intervention with oil-rich or lean fish on apoptosis and mitosis within the colonic crypt.


In a multicenter, randomized, controlled intervention trial, patients with colorectal polyps, inactive ulcerative colitis, or no macroscopic signs of disease were recruited (n = 242) and randomly allocated to receive dietary advice plus either 300 g oil-rich fish (salmon) per week (n = 82), 300 g lean fish (cod) per week (n = 78), or only dietary advice (DA) (n = 82). Apoptosis and mitosis were measured in colonic biopsy samples collected before and after intervention (n = 213).


The total number of apoptotic cells per crypt did not increase in the salmon or cod group: -0.10 (95% CI: -0.36, 0.16) and -0.06 (95% CI: -0.32, 0.20), respectively, compared with the DA group. The total number of mitotic cells per crypt decreased nonsignificantly in the salmon group (-0.87; 95% CI: -2.41, 0.68) and in the cod group (-1.04; 95% CI: -2.62, 0.53) compared with the DA group. Furthermore, the distribution of mitosis within the crypt did not significantly change in either group.


An increase in the consumption of either oil-rich or lean fish to 2 portions weekly over 6 mo does not markedly change apoptotic and mitotic rates in the colonic mucosa. This trial was registered at as NCT00145015.

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