Chemopreventive Effects of Whole Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) on Colitis-Associated Colon Tumorigenesis

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Dec;62(24):e1800942. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201800942. Epub 2018 Nov 23.


Scope: There are growing interests in using a whole-food-based approach to prevent chronic diseases due to potential synergistic interactions among different bioactive components within the whole foods. North American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), a polyphenol-rich fruit, has been shown to exert multiple beneficial health effects.

Methods and results: For the first time, the protective effects of whole cranberry powder (WCP) are determined against colitis-associated mouse colon tumorigenesis induced by azoxymethane (AOM) and dextran sulfate sodium (DSS). The results show that dietary administration of WCP (1.5%, w/w in the diet) significantly suppresses colon tumorigenesis as indicated by the reduced tumor incidence, multiplicity, burden, and average tumor size in WCP-fed mice compared to the positive control mice. Both gene and protein expression levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α are markedly attenuated by WCP treatment in the colon of AOM/DSS-treated mice. Moreover, WCP profoundly modulates multiple signaling pathways/proteins related to inflammation, cell proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis in the colon, which is closely associated with the inhibitory effects of WCP on colon tumorigenesis.

Conclusion: Overall, the results demonstrate chemopreventive effects of WCP on colon tumorigenesis in mice, providing a scientific basis for using the whole cranberry as a functional food to promote colon health in humans.

Keywords: Vaccinium macrocarpon; colitis; colon cancer; cranberry; inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Azoxymethane / toxicity
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / complications*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dextran Sulfate / toxicity
  • Enzymes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Vaccinium macrocarpon / chemistry*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Enzymes
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Ptgs2 protein, mouse
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Azoxymethane