Calcium or resistant starch does not affect colonic epithelial cell proliferation throughout the colon in adenoma patients: a randomized controlled trial

Nutr Cancer. 2002;43(1):31-8. doi: 10.1207/S15327914NC431_3.


Patients with a history of sporadic adenomas have increased epithelial cell proliferative activity, an intermediate risk marker for colorectal cancer. Reduction of proliferation by dietary intervention may reflect a decreased colorectal cancer risk. To evaluate whether calcium or resistant starch could reduce proliferative activity throughout the colon, we performed a randomized controlled trial in 111 sporadic adenoma patients. Patients received two placebos, 1 g of calcium + placebo, or 30 g of amylomaize (19 g of resistant starch) + placebo. After 2 mo, biopsies were collected from the cecum, transverse and sigmoid colon, and rectum during colonoscopy. Epithelial cell proliferation was determined by dividing the number of 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine-labeled nuclei by the total number of nuclei x 100 (labeling index, LI). LI of luminal, mid, and basal compartments was determined. Twenty-five patients dropped out. In the remaining 86 patients (28 treated with placebo, 30 with calcium + placebo, and 28 with resistant starch + placebo), no difference was observed in total LI, the LI of the three compartments, or the crypt length in the four areas of the colorectum. Colonic epithelial cell proliferative activity throughout the colon of sporadic adenoma patients is not affected by supplementation with 1 g of calcium or 19 g of resistant starch.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diet therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Colon / drug effects*
  • Colon / pathology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diet therapy*
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects*
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Starch / administration & dosage*


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Starch