Gut bacteria mediate link between diet and colorectal cancer

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New research provides further evidence that what we eat alters gut bacteria to affect colorectal cancer risk, after linking a high-fiber diet to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer containing Fusobacterium nucleatum. A study leader Dr. Shuji Ogino – from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA – and colleagues report their findings in JAMA Oncology. The new study from Dr. Ogino and team supports this association, after finding that individuals who followed a high-fiber diet were at a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer tumors containing the bacterium F. nucleatum. According to Dr. Ogino, recent research has shown that F. nucleatum may play a role in the development of colorectal cancer. “One study showed that F. nucleatum in the stool increased markedly after participants switched from a prudent to a Western-style, low-fiber diet,” he added. “We theorized that the link between a prudent diet and reduced colorectal cancer risk would be more evident for tumors enriched with F. nucleatum than for those without it.” The team found that participants who followed a prudent diet – defined as a high intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes – were at a significantly lower risk of colorectal cancer containing F. nucleatum, compared with subjects who followed a Western-style diet. However, participants who had a prudent dietary pattern did not show a reduced risk of colorectal cancer that was free of F. nucleatum. Dr. Ogino says that these findings provide “compelling evidence” that diet influences the likelihood of developing specific forms of colorectal cancer by altering the gut microbiome. –Agencies

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