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J Nutr. 2007 Oct;137(10):2264-9.

Does garlic reduce risk of colorectal cancer? A systematic review.

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Sansom Institute, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, 5000 Australia.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the 3rd leading cause of cancer death in the United States and the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in Australia. Environmental factors play important roles in the multiple-stage process of CRC and nutritional intervention has been identified as playing a major role in its prevention. The aim of this study was to review systematically the scientific evidence from all studies conducted over the last decade that examined effects of garlic on CRC. Levels of evidence were ranked from level I to level V according to study designs and the quality of each study was assessed against a set of quality criteria based on those used by the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia. One randomized controlled trial (RCT, level II) reported a statistically significant 29% reduction in both size and number of colon adenomas in CRC patients taking aged garlic extract. Five of 8 case control/cohort studies (level III) suggested a protective effect of high intake of raw/cooked garlic and 2 of 8 of these studies suggested a protective effect for distal colon. A published meta-analysis (level III) of 7 of these studies confirmed this inverse association, with a 30% reduction in relative risk. Eleven animal studies (level V) demonstrated a significant anticarcinogenic effect of garlic and/or its active constituents. On balance, there is consistent scientific evidence derived from RCT of animal studies reporting protective effects of garlic on CRC despite great heterogeneity of measures of intakes among human epidemiological studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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