Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Clinical Trial
. 1990 Aug 1;82(15):1280-5.
doi: 10.1093/jnci/82.15.1280.

Effects of Dietary Wheat Bran Fiber on Rectal Epithelial Cell Proliferation in Patients With Resection for Colorectal Cancers

Free article
Clinical Trial

Effects of Dietary Wheat Bran Fiber on Rectal Epithelial Cell Proliferation in Patients With Resection for Colorectal Cancers

D S Alberts et al. J Natl Cancer Inst. .
Free article


A preponderance of carcinogenesis studies in rodents and epidemiologic studies in humans suggests a potential role of dietary fiber in the prevention of colorectal cancer. Recently, wheat bran fiber used as a dietary supplement has been shown to decrease the growth of rectal adenomatous polyps in patients with familial polyposis; however, few studies of high-risk human populations have been attempted to determine the effects of dietary fiber supplementation on markers of carcinogenesis in the colon or rectum. We have designed a one-arm study to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation with wheat bran fiber [i.e., 13.5 g/day for 8 wk; after 1 mo, 2 g/day (compliance evaluation period)] on [3H]thymidine rectal mucosa cell labeling (i.e., percent of epithelial cells incorporating [3H]thymidine into DNA in intact rectal crypt cells over a 90-min exposure as well as in minced rectal biopsy tissue over a 24-hr exposure) in rectal biopsy specimens. The biopsy specimens were obtained at sigmoidoscopy in 17 compliant patients with a history of resected colon or rectal cancer. We categorized patients as having initially low or initially high [3H]thymidine-labeling indices (i.e., percent of mucosa cells that incorporate [3H]thymidine into DNA during 1.5- or 24-hour in vitro incubations) by using the median baseline labeling index as a cutoff between high and low values. On the basis of a chi-square test used to identify patients with a statistically significant (P less than .001) change, six of the eight patients who initially had high 24-hour outgrowth labeling indices showed a significant decrease in the rectal mucosa biopsy specimens obtained after treatment. An overall 22% decrease was observed in rectal mucosa cell biopsy specimens obtained at study termination (P less than .001). Of the eight patients with initially high total [3H]thymidine-labeling indices in crypt organ culture, four had a significant (P less than .001) decrease from baseline values, one had a significant increase, and three showed no change following the fiber intervention. The wheat bran fiber dietary supplement of 13.5 g/day was well tolerated by this group of older (54-70 yr) patients. Although the [3H]-thymidine labeling index data suggest that the wheat bran fiber supplement can inhibit DNA synthesis and rectal mucosa cell proliferation in high-risk patients, the results of this small pilot study should not be overinterpreted vis à vis the potential role of wheat bran fiber as a chemopreventive agent for colorectal cancer.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 10 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

MeSH terms