Folate and fiber in the prevention of colorectal cancer: between shadows and the light

World J Gastroenterol. 2010 Feb 28;16(8):921-6. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i8.921.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common malignancies and causes of cancer deaths throughout the world. Endoscopy has its functional and financial limitations; therefore, chemoprevention might be crucial in reducing the incidence of CRC. Although a number of studies have demonstrated the potential chemopreventive effects of folate (or folic acid), many challenges still remain. The relationship between folate intake and CRC risk is a complex association that might depend on many factors including gender, age, alcohol consumption, and smoking, all of which interfere with folate metabolism. The supplementary dose of fiber, the length of time required to observe the effects, and confounding factors exposed during the trial might also influence these findings. Therefore, more evidence from clinical studies is needed regarding the mechanisms that underlie the actions of bioactive food components in minimizing the risk of CRC.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chemoprevention / methods*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diet therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use*
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Folic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Folic Acid