Gut Bacteria Links Diet to Colon Cancer

A high-fiber, low-fat diet is one of many steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing colon cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, for every 10 grams of fiber consumed daily, your risk of colon cancer is reduced by 10 percent. The link between diet and colon cancer is clear, and now we may be one step closer to understanding why.

New findings published in the journal JAMA Oncology show that certain gut bacteria appear to play a role in the development of colon cancer. A group of Boston researchers tracked the diets of over 137,000 study participants over a period of decades and examined over 1,000 colon tumor samples. The researchers specifically looked for Fusobacterium nucleatum, an inflammatory bacterium that is believed to promote colon cancer. The results showed that individuals who adhered to a high-fiber diet rich in whole grains had a lower risk of colon cancer containing Fusobacterium nucleatum, but their risk for developing colon cancer without the bacterium remained unchanged.

Study co-senior author Dr. Shuji Ogino said of the results, “Though our research dealt with only one type of bacteria, it points to a much broader phenomenon – that intestinal bacteria can act in concert with diet to reduce or increase the risk of certain types of colorectal cancer.”

This study is the first of its kind to establish a link between long-term dietary habits and bacteria in colon tumors. Co-senior author Dr. Andrew Chan explained that further studies are needed to examine the relationship between diet, gut microbiota and cancer development (Source: News Medical).