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Gastroenterol Clin Biol. 2006 Oct;30(10):1196-9.

Polyethylene glycol and prevalence of colorectal adenomas.

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Gastroentérologie, Hôpital Trousseau, CHRU de Tours. <>



Dietary polyethylene glycol (PEG) is extraordinarily potent in the chemoprevention of experimental colon carcinogenesis. PEG is used to treat constipation in France and in the USA. French laxatives include Forlax (PEG4000), Movicol and Transipeg (PEG3350), and Idrocol (pluronic F68). This study tests the hypothesis that use of a PEG-based laxative might reduce the prevalence of colorectal tumors.


In this population-based study, consecutive patients attending for routine total colonoscopy were enrolled during four months by the gastroenterologists of Indre-et-Loire. They were asked if they had previously taken a laxative or a NSAID. Age, gender, previous polyps, family history of colorectal cancer, constipation, digestive symptoms were also recorded. Tumors found during colonoscopy were categorized histologically.


Records from 1165 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria, 607 women and 498 men, mean age 58.3. Among those, 813 had no tumor, 329 had adenomas, and 23 had carcinomas. In a univariate analysis, older age, male gender, lack of digestive symptom, and previous polyps were more common in patients with colorectal tumors. In contrast, previous Forlax intake was more common in tumor-free patients (odds ratio (OR) any use/no use, 0.52; 95% confidence interval, 0.27-0.94). More people used Forlax, which contains a higher dose of PEG than the other PEG-laxatives, whose ORs were smaller than one, but did not reach significance. In multivariate analysis, older age and male gender were associated with higher risk, and NSAIDs use with lower risk, of colorectal tumors.


Forlax users had a halved risk of colorectal tumors in univariate analysis, which suggests that PEG may prevent carcinogenesis.

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