Manipulation of the gut microbiota using resistant starch is associated with protection against colitis-associated colorectal cancer in rats

Carcinogenesis. 2016 Apr;37(4):366-375. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgw019. Epub 2016 Feb 19.


This study evaluated whether dietary resistant starch (RS) and green tea extract (GTE), which have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, protect against colitis-associated colorectal cancer (CAC) using a rat model, also investigated potential mechanisms of action of these agents including their effects on the gut microbiota. Rats were fed a control diet or diets containing 10% RS, 0.5% GTE or a combination of the two (RS + GTE). CAC was initiated with 2 weekly azoxymethane (AOM) injections (10mg/kg) followed by 2% dextran sodium sulphate in drinking water for 7 days after 2 weeks on diets. Rats were killed 20 weeks after the first AOM. Colon tissues and tumours were examined for histopathology by H&E, gene/protein expression by PCR and immunohistochemistry and digesta for analyses of fermentation products and microbiota populations. RS and RS + GTE (but not GTE) diets significantly (P< 0.05) decreased tumour multiplicity and adenocarcinoma formation, relative to the control diet. Effects of RS + GTE were not different from RS alone. RS diet caused significant shifts in microbial composition/diversity, with increases in Parabacteroides, Barnesiella, Ruminococcus, Marvinbryantia and Bifidobacterium as primary contributors to the shift. RS-containing diets increased short chain fatty acids (SCFA) and expression of the SCFA receptor GPR43 mRNA, and reduced inflammation (COX-2, NF-kB, TNF-α and IL-1β mRNA) and cell proliferation P< 0.05. GTE had no effect. This is the first study that demonstrates chemopreventive effects of RS (but not GTE) in a rodent CAC model, suggesting RS might have benefit to patients with ulcerative colitis who are at an increased risk of developing CRC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colitis / complications
  • Colitis / microbiology
  • Colitis / prevention & control*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Rats
  • Starch / metabolism*


  • Starch