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Cancer Lett. 2003 Dec 30;202(2):125-9.

Marginal dietary thiamin deficiency induces the formation of colonic aberrant crypt foci (ACF) in rats.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, 150 College Street, Toronto, Ont. M5S 3E2, Canada.


Thiamin deficiency leads to the endogenous formation of genotoxic alpha-oxoaldehydes (glyoxals). To evaluate whether marginal deficiency poses a carcinogenesis risk we fed rats AIN-76A sucrose-based diets containing thiamin at 4.9 (control), 1.6 or 1.0 mg/kg diet and examined their colons after 160 days. Reduced thiamin increased aberrant crypt foci (ACF) from 1.14+/-0.46 to 3.70+/-1.17 and 2.60+/-1.02 ACF/colon in the absence of exogenous carcinogen or of symptoms of beriberi. Since typical Western diets can provide marginal levels of thiamin with high levels of simple sugars, individuals could be exposed to an increased risk of colon and perhaps other cancers.

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