Dietary manipulation of oncogenic microRNA expression in human rectal mucosa: a randomized trial

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014 Aug;7(8):786-95. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0053.


High red meat (HRM) intake is associated with increased colorectal cancer risk, while resistant starch is probably protective. Resistant starch fermentation produces butyrate, which can alter microRNA (miRNA) levels in colorectal cancer cells in vitro; effects of red meat and resistant starch on miRNA expression in vivo were unknown. This study examined whether a HRM diet altered miRNA expression in rectal mucosa tissue of healthy volunteers, and if supplementation with butyrylated resistant starch (HRM+HAMSB) modified this response. In a randomized cross-over design, 23 volunteers undertook four 4-week dietary interventions; an HRM diet (300 g/day lean red meat) and an HRM+HAMSB diet (HRM with 40 g/day butyrylated high amylose maize starch), preceded by an entry diet and separated by a washout. Fecal butyrate increased with the HRM+HAMSB diet. Levels of oncogenic mature miRNAs, including miR17-92 cluster miRNAs and miR21, increased in the rectal mucosa with the HRM diet, whereas the HRM+HAMSB diet restored miR17-92 miRNAs, but not miR21, to baseline levels. Elevated miR17-92 and miR21 in the HRM diet corresponded with increased cell proliferation, and a decrease in miR17-92 target gene transcript levels, including CDKN1A. The oncogenic miR17-92 cluster is differentially regulated by dietary factors that increase or decrease risk for colorectal cancer, and this may explain, at least in part, the respective risk profiles of HRM and resistant starch. These findings support increased resistant starch consumption as a means of reducing risk associated with an HRM diet.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amylose / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Beverages
  • Biopsy
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Citrus
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Meat
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk
  • Multigene Family
  • Rectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Starch
  • Zea mays


  • MIRN17-92 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Starch
  • Amylose