Diet, Fibers, and Colon Cancer

  • Jean Faivre
  • Claude Bonithon-Kopp
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 472)


Epidemiological studies of colorectal cancer, particularly studies of time trends, of migrants, and of religious groups, indicate that environmental factors are of overwhelming importance in determining the incidence of the disease in the population. Of the possible environmental factors important in colorectal cancer carcinogenesis, diet has been the focus of attention. Recent advances have shown that genetic constitution is also important in determining susceptibility to the disease. This implies that colorectal cancer can be caused by an interaction between dietary factors and genetic predisposition. Among the dietary components that have been linked to decreased risk of colorectal cancer is the high intake of dietary fibre. The hypothesis of a fibre-depleted aetiology for colorectal cancer was particularly put forward by Burkitt.1 This was based on the careful clinical observations of the difference in patterns of diseases between Western and traditional African societies. He noted the rarity of colorectal cancer in African countries compared to the west and found that African diets were higher in dietary fibre and lower in refined carbohydrates than west European diets. Results from laboratory animal studies and from analytical epidemiological studies provide evidence that a high fibre intake decreases the risk of colorectal cancer. However, some studies have failed to support the theory of a fibre-depleted diet as a causative factor in the aetiology of colorectal cancer. The objective of this review is to present the evidence for and against the protective role of dietary fibre against colorectal cancer.


Colorectal Cancer Dietary Fibre Wheat Bran Natl Cancer Inst Colorectal Adenoma 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Faivre
    • 1
  • Claude Bonithon-Kopp
    • 1
  1. 1.Registre des Cancers Digestifs (Equipe Associèe INSERM-DGS, CRI 95-05)Facultè de MèdecineDijon CèdexFrance

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