The BE GONE trial study protocol: a randomized crossover dietary intervention of dry beans targeting the gut microbiome of overweight and obese patients with a history of colorectal polyps or cancer

BMC Cancer. 2019 Dec 18;19(1):1233. doi: 10.1186/s12885-019-6400-z.


Background: Mouse and human studies support the promise of dry beans to improve metabolic health and to lower cancer risk. In overweight/obese patients with a history of colorectal polyps or cancer, the Beans to Enrich the Gut microbiome vs. Obesity's Negative Effects (BE GONE) trial will test whether and how an increase in the consumption of pre-cooked, canned dry beans within the context of usual diet and lifestyle can enhance the gut landscape to improve metabolic health and reduce cancer risk.

Methods/design: This randomized crossover trial is designed to characterize changes in (1) host markers spanning lipid metabolism, inflammation, and obesity-related cancer risk; (2) compositional and functional profiles of the fecal microbiome; and (3) host and microbial metabolites. With each subject serving as their own control, the trial will compare the participant's usual diet with (intervention) and without (control) dry beans. Canned, pre-cooked dry beans are provided to participants and the usual diet continually assessed and monitored. Following a 4-week run-in and equilibration period, each participant provides a total of 5 fasting blood and 6 stool samples over a total period of 16 weeks. The intervention consists of a 2-week ramp-up of dry bean intake to 1 cup/d, which is then continued for an additional 6 weeks. Intra- and inter-individual outcomes are assessed across each crossover period with consideration of the joint or modifying effects of the usual diet and baseline microbiome.

Discussion: The BE GONE trial is evaluating a scalable dietary prevention strategy targeting the gut microbiome of high-risk patients to mitigate the metabolic and inflammatory effects of adiposity that influence colorectal cancer risk, recurrence, and survival. The overarching scientific goal is to further elucidate interactions between diet, the gut microbiome, and host metabolism. Improved understanding of the diet-microbiota interplay and effective means to target these relationships will be key to the future of clinical and public health approaches to cancer and other major diet- and obesity-related diseases.

Trial registration: This protocol is registered with the U.S. National Institutes of Health trial registry,, under the identifier NCT02843425. First posted July 25, 2016; last verified January 25, 2019.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer survivors; Diet; Dry beans; Gut microbiome; Metabolome; Obesity; Precancerous colorectal polyps.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diet therapy*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Colonic Polyps / diet therapy*
  • Colonic Polyps / microbiology
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology
  • Colonic Polyps / prevention & control
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / microbiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Overweight / microbiology
  • Overweight / physiopathology*
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors

Associated data