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Nutr Cancer. 2006;54(2):202-8.

Methionine restriction inhibits colon carcinogenesis.

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Institute of Cancer, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA.


Previously, we demonstrated that life-long methionine restriction (MR) in rats increases life span and inhibits aging-related disease processes. The present study examines the effects of MR on the formation of preneoplastic aberrant crypt foci (ACF) in the colon of azoxymethane (AOM)-treated rats. Six-week-old male F344 rats were placed on essential amino acid-defined diets containing either 0.86% Met (control diet) or 0.17% Met (MR diet) and 1 wk later were given AOM (15 mg/kg/wk, s.c.) for 2 consecutive wk. Ten weeks after the final AOM treatment, ACF formation was markedly reduced in rats fed the MR diet with ACF containing > or = 4 crypts/focus being reduced by over 80% compared to controls (P < 0.001). A similar 83% reduction in ACF containing > or = 4 crypts/focus was observed in rats fed the MR diet only during the post-initiation period (after the final dose of AOM; P < 0.001). Five weeks after AOM administration, a 12% reduction in colonic cell proliferation was observed in MR rats compared to controls (P < 0.05). These results show that MR inhibits colonic tumor development in the rat, an effect that occurs primarily during post-initiation phases of carcinogenesis and may be due, in part, to an inhibition of colonic cell proliferation.

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