Association between fecal bile acids and colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies

Yonsei Med J. 2008 Oct 31;49(5):792-803. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2008.49.5.792.


Purpose: To provide a systematic review with meta-analysis for addressing the relationship between fecal bile acids (FBAs) and colorectal cancer.

Materials and methods: Electronic databases were searched for all observational studies that examined the relationship between FBAs and colorectal cancer or adenoma, and calculated weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI). Publication bias was assessed with funnel plot.

Results: Twenty case-control or cohort studies were identified. All studies were pooled to assess the relationship between total FBAs and cancer/adenoma of the large bowel, however, no association was seen (WMD 0.61mg/g freeze-dried feces; 95% CI: -0.35-1.57). Significantly increased concentration of chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) was seen while pooling to assess the relationship between CDCA and cancer/adenoma of the large bowel (WMD 0.13 mg/g freeze-dried feces; 95% CI: 0.01-0.25), especially for colorectal cancer (WMD 0.28mg/g freeze-dried feces; 95% CI: 0.10-0.46). However, no significant differences in deoxycholic acid (DCA), lithocholic acid (LCA), and primary and secondary bile acids, were seen between patients with cancer and patients with matched controls regardless of fixed and random effects models.

Conclusion: CDCA might play a role in the etiology of colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma / etiology
  • Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Bile Acids and Salts