Background: Epidemiological studies have reported a low incidence of colon cancer in countries with high legume consumption. Moreover, experimental studies have found that legumes, such as soybeans and pinto beans, have anticancer properties. While garbanzo beans are a rich source of various phytochemicals, they have not been well studied. In the present study, the azoxymethane (AOM)-induced aberrant crypt foci (ACF) in CF-1 mice was utilized as a model to assess and compare the effects of garbanzo flour to that of soy flour.
Materials and methods: Twenty, 5-week-old CF-1 mice were divided into four groups of 5 animals each: 10% garbanzo, 10% soy, 10% mixed (soy and garbanzo flours), and control (rodent chow). Animals received subcutaneous injections of AOM (10-mg/kg B. W.) once a week for two weeks to induce ACF. At week ten, the animals were sacrificed and the colons were scored.
Results: There was a 64% (p <0.001) suppression of ACF for animals fed the garbanzo flour, versus an inhibition of 58 and 55% (p<0.001) for the soy and mixed flour groups, respectively.
Discussion: These results demonstrate that garbanzo beans possess bioactive compounds capable of inhibiting the formation of pre-cancerous lesions in mice and suggest that, like soybeans, their consumption contributes to a reduction in colon cancer incidence.