This randomized trial evaluated the effects of intervention with either a Healthy Eating or a Mediterranean diet on colon biomarkers in 120 healthy individuals at increased colon cancer risk. The hypothesis was that eicosanoids and markers of proliferation would be favorably affected by the Mediterranean diet. Colon epithelial biopsy tissues and blood samples were obtained at baseline and after 6 mo of intervention. Colonic eicosanoid concentrations were evaluated by HPLC-MS-MS, and measures of epithelial proliferation and nuclear morphology were evaluated by image analysis of biopsy sections. There was little change in proinflammatory eicosanoids and in plasma cytokine concentrations with either dietary intervention. There was, however, a 50% increase in colonic prostaglandin E3 (PGE3), which is formed from eicosapentanoic acid, in the Mediterranean arm. Unlike PGE2, PGE3, was not significantly affected by regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs at baseline, and normal weight subjects had significantly higher colon PGE3 than overweight or obese subjects. Increased proliferation in the colon at baseline, by Ki67 labeling, was associated with morphological features that defined smaller nuclei in the epithelial cells, lower colon leukotriene concentrations and higher plasma cytokine concentrations. Dietary intervention had little effect on measures of epithelial proliferation or of nuclear morphology. The increase in PGE3 with a Mediterranean diet indicates that in normal colon, diet might affect protective pathways to a greater extent than proinflammatory and proliferative pathways. Hence, biomarkers from cancer models might not be relevant in a true prevention setting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Cancer Research