Kill and cure: dietary augmentation of immune defences against colon cancer

Proc Nutr Soc. 2000 May;59(2):215-20. doi: 10.1017/s0029665100000240.


At its most fundamental, cancer is a genetic disease resulting from inherited or acquired mutations in tumour suppressor genes and proto-oncogenes. Environmental factors, including ingested food components, interact with genetic inheritance to determine individual cancer risk. There is growing evidence that the immune system exerts selective pressure during neoplastic development. Tumour cells that evade this immunosurveillance because they are non-antigenic or because they defend themselves successfully against immune attack have a survival advantage. Effective chemopreventative agents will include dietary components that enhance the immune system's ability to identify transformed cells and to target them for apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Butyrates / therapeutic use
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diet therapy*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Monitoring, Immunologic


  • Butyrates