Role of dietary fiber in colon cancer: an overview

Am J Med. 1999 Jan 25;106(1A):16S-19S; discussion 50S-51S. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9343(98)00341-6.


Studies have demonstrated a reduced risk of colon cancer when populations with diets high in total fat switched to a diet high in total fiber and certain whole-grain foods. Case-control studies have shown convincingly the relationship between dietary fiber and colon cancer. Studies in animal models have demonstrated that the inhibitory effects of dietary fiber on the development of colonic neoplasms depend on the nature and source of the fiber; that wheat bran appears to inhibit colon tumor development more consistently than do other dietary sources of fiber, such as oat and corn bran; and that dietary administration of phytic acid, high levels of which are present in wheat bran, inhibits colon carcinogenesis. Human dietary intervention studies have also indicated that the modifying effect of dietary fiber on bacterial enzymes involved in the production of putative colon tumor promoters depends on the type of fiber consumed. Dietary wheat bran, but not oat or corn bran, significantly decreased the levels of several tumor promoters in the colon, independent of stool bulk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Risk