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Carcinogenesis. 2001 Jan;22(1):127-32.

Effect of dietary galacto-oligosaccharides on azoxymethane-induced aberrant crypt foci and colorectal cancer in Fischer 344 rats.

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  • 1TNO Nutrition and Food Research, Department of General Toxicology, Utrechtseweg 48, PO Box 360, 3700 AJ Zeist, The Netherlands.


The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS, Elix'or) on the development of aberrant crypt foci (ACF) and colorectal tumours in rats treated with azoxymethane (AOM). Two groups of 102 male Fischer 344 rats were injected twice with AOM to induce colorectal tumours, and fed diets containing either a low [5% (w/w); LGOS] or a high [20% (w/w); HGOS] concentration of GOS. Four weeks after the last AOM injection, 18 animals from each group were killed and their colon was removed for scoring ACF. Half of the animals in the LGOS group were switched to an HGOS diet (L/HGOS) and half of those in the HGOS group to an LGOS diet (H/LGOS). Six weeks after the change in diet, nine animals per group were killed for scoring ACF. Ten months after the start of the study the remaining animals were killed for scoring colorectal tumours. The aberrant crypt multiplicity scored after 13 weeks and the colorectal tumour incidence in rats fed an HGOS diet were significantly lower than those in rats fed an LGOS diet. However, the induction of ACF by AOM, the proliferation rate and apoptotic index of the adenomas, and the size and multiplicity of colorectal tumours were not influenced by the amount of GOS in the diet. The aberrant crypt multiplicity, scored after 13 weeks, was predictive for the tumour outcome at the end of the study. It was concluded that an HGOS diet has a protective effect against the development of colorectal tumours in rats and that this protective effect is exerted during the promotion phase rather than the initiation phase of carcinogenesis.

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