Influence of dietary phytochemicals and microbiota on colon cancer risk

J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Jul 11;60(27):6728-35. doi: 10.1021/jf204230r. Epub 2012 May 31.


Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the United States. Lifestyle and dietary patterns influence colon cancer risk both positively and negatively. Among the dietary factors, several plant-derived compounds have been found to afford colon cancer protection. These compounds potentially influence all aspects of colonic cellular regulation and develop complex interrelationships with the colonic microbiome. Increasing understanding of the role of microorganisms in determining the colonic environment has led to awareness of this important interrelationship among dietary factors and the microbial population. Plant-derived polyphenols are active mediators of cellular events, target key carcinogenic pathways, and modulate colonic microbial populations. In turn, the colonic microorganisms metabolize dietary compounds and mediate cellular events. In addition, the role of estrogen receptors in colon cancer and the importance of dietary components that mediate estrogen receptor-β are increasingly being discovered. Hence, dietary bioactive compounds and the intestinal microbiota create a complex milieu that directly affects the carcinogenic events of the colon. These relationships must be carefully characterized in future research to provide dietary recommendations that will reduce colon cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Microbiota* / drug effects
  • Phytochemicals / administration & dosage*
  • Risk Factors


  • Phytochemicals