Background: Dietary induction of antisecretory factor (AF) can reduce diarrhoea in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Patients with neuroendocrine tumours may suffer from diarrhoea with a prominent secretory component. We studied if AF-therapy could affect this type of diarrhoea.
Methods: Six patients with the midgut carcinoid syndrome and two with metastasizing medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) participated. Effects of intake of AF, in the form of AF-rich egg powder (AF-egg), and induction of endogenous AF-activity by intake of specially processed cereals (SPCs) were studied. In an initial open part of the study all patients received AF-egg for 4 weeks, followed by a double-blind crossover period with SPC and control cereals (CCs) for 6 weeks each. Daily number of bowel movements at the end of each treatment period was registered.
Results: Treatment with AF-egg resulted in a decrease of bowel movements in seven patients (P<0.01). Registrations of bowel movements from both SPC and CC diet periods were obtained from five patients. The daily number of bowel movements was lower during the SPC-period compared to the period with CC (P<0.05). All patients had low levels of AF-activity in serum at baseline. During treatment with AF-egg, the mean level increased slightly. AF-activity was higher (P<0.05) after SPC compared to the CC diet.
Conclusions: In a group of patients with endocrine diarrhoea, AF-activity could be induced, and AF-therapy reduced the number of bowel movements.