Long-term effects of dietary calcium on risk markers for colon cancer in patients with familial polyposis

Surgery. 1990 Sep;108(3):528-33.


There is conflicting evidence regarding the benefit of calcium in prevention of colon cancer. Patients who have undergone ileorectal operations for familial polyposis can be useful to study hypotheses on prevention of colon cancer. In this study we evaluated the effect of long-term calcium supplementation on risk markers of colon cancer. Thirty-one patients with familial polyposis, after subtotal colectomy, were randomized to group A, which received placebo, and group B, which received 1200 mg of calcium daily. Intervention lasted 9 months, in which they underwent four 3-monthly evaluations that included food records, fecal pH, calcium and bile acids, and rectal biopsy for thymidine labeling. Age, height, weight, macronutrients, and dietary fiber were comparable in both groups. More women were in the group that received placebo. Fecal pH, weight, and bile acid levels were similar before intervention and remained unchanged. Fecal calcium levels were similar before intervention and increased in the calcium group throughout the study (p less than 0.05). Labeling index of placebo and calcium groups was similar before intervention (4.8 and 6.1, respectively). After 3 months it was reduced in both groups (3.1 and 4.4, respectively; p less than 0.05). After 6 months it was reduced only in the calcium group (3.4; p less than 0.05). After 9 months it did not differ from the starting point (3.4 and 4.0, respectively). In a long-term intervention study with a homogenous group of patients with familial polyposis, supplemental dietary calcium did not affect mucosal risk factors for colon cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli / complications*
  • Adult
  • Bile Acids and Salts / analysis
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • Feces / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Random Allocation
  • Risk Factors


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • DNA
  • Calcium