Cancer research

Preventive potential of wheat bran fractions against experimental colon carcinogenesis: implications for human colon cancer prevention.

PMID 10987288


Epidemiological studies suggest an inverse relationship between the intake of dietary fiber, particularly fiber from cereal grains, and colon cancer risk. Animal model assays have demonstrated that the protective effects of dietary fiber on colon cancer development depend on the nature and source of the fiber. Wheat bran (WB) appears to inhibit colon tumorigenesis more consistently than do oat bran or corn bran. This study was designed to determine whether specific WB fractions such as WB fiber, WB lipids, or phytic acid differentially affect colon carcinogenesis in a well-established colon cancer model. In addition, the modulating effect of specific fractions of WB on the activities of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2 enzymes were assessed in colon tumors as those have been shown to play a role in tumor progression. At 5 weeks of age, groups of male F344 rats were assigned to one of six diets: a high-fat diet containing 10% WB (control diet) and experimental high-fat diets containing 10% dephytinized WB (WB-P), 10% defatted WB (WB-F), 10% dephytinized and defatted WB (WB-PF), 10% WB-PF fortified with 2% bran oil and/or with 0.4% phytate. At 7 weeks of age, all eats except those in the vehicle-treated groups were given two weekly s.c. injections of azoxymethane (AOM) at a dose rate of 15 mg/kg body weight/week. They continued to receive their respective diets until 50 weeks after carcinogen treatment and were then killed. Colon tumors were analyzed for iNOS, COX-1, and COX-2 expression and enzymatic activities. Colon tumors were evaluated histopathologically and classified as adenomas and adenocarcinomas. We found that removal of phytic acid (WB-P) or lipids (WB-F) from WB had no significant effect on colon tumor incidence (% animals with tumors) or multiplicity (tumors/ animal), whereas removal of both phytate and lipids from WB (WB-PF) significantly increased colon tumor multiplicity and volume. Interestingly, WB-PF fortified with excess bran oil or with bran oil plus phytate significantly inhibited colon tumor incidence, multiplicity, and volume; but supplementation of WB-PF with phytate alone had no significant effect on colon tumorigenesis in rats suggesting that lipid fraction of WB possesses tumor-inhibitory properties. Moreover, feeding WB-PF diet significantly increased iNOS, total COX and COX-2 enzyme activities, and iNOS protein expression in colon tumors as compared with wheat bran control diet. Feeding the WB-PF that was fortified with excess bran oil alone or with bran oil plus phytate significantly suppressed the activities of iNOS and COX-2 as well as the expression of iNOS and COX-2 in colon tumors compared with that in rats fed the WB diet or WB-PF diet. The study demonstrates for the first time that the lipid fraction of wheat bran has strong colon tumor inhibitor properties. The exact mechanism(s) by which the lipid fraction of WB inhibits colon carcinogenesis in addition to alteration of iNOS and COX activities remains to be elucidated. Additional studies are warranted to identify biologically active constituents of lipid fraction of WB and their relative role in colon tumor inhibition.