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IUBMB Life. 2015 Jul;67(7):514-23. doi: 10.1002/iub.1399. Epub 2015 Jul 15.

Cross-talk between bile acids and gastrointestinal tract for progression and development of cancer and its therapeutic implications.

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Laboratory of Nanotechnology and Chemical Biology, Regional Centre for Biotechnology, NCR Biotech Cluster, Faridabad, Haryana, 121001, India.
Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka, India.


Increasing incidences of gastrointestinal (GI) cancer are linked to changes in lifestyle with excess of red meat/fat consumption, and elevated secretion of bile acids. Bile acids are strong signaling molecules that control various physiological processes. Failure in bile acid regulation has detrimental effects, often linked with development and promotion of cancer of digestive tract including esophagus, stomach, liver, and intestine. Excessive concentration of bile acids especially lipophillic secondary bile acids are cytotoxic causing apoptosis and reactive oxygen species-mediated damage to the cells. Resistance to this apoptosis and accumulation of mutations leads to progression of cancer. Cytotoxicity of bile acids is contingent on their chemical structure. In this review, we discuss the chemistry of bile acids, bile acid mediated cellular signaling processes, their role in GI cancer progression, and therapeutic potential of synthetic bile acid derivatives for cancer therapy.


bile acids; cancer therapeutics; colon cancer; gastrointestinal cancer

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