A combination of omega-3 fatty acids and a butyrate-producing fiber mitigates colon cancer development Conference Paper uri icon


  • Galactic cosmic radiation-induced cancer risk is a major limitation to long-duration missions, with colon cancer development being a likely target since it is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States today and strikes men and women equally. We tested if diet could act as a countermeasure against radiation-enhanced cancer in 560 male rats using a 2223 factorial design (+ or - irradiation with 1 Gy, 1 GeV/nucleon Fe ions; 2 fats and 2 fibers; and 3 termination points). All rats were injected with a colon specific carcinogen (azoxymethane). A diet high in fish oil (omega 3 fatty acid source) combined with pectin (a fermentable fiber) was protective against radiation-induced cancer at each stage of the tumorigenic process (initiation, progression, and final tumor development). At the final tumor stage, the fish oil/pectin diet resulted in only 1/3 of the relative risk for tumor development as compared to the corn oil/cellulose or corn oil/pectin diets (P = 0.066). Fecal material was collected from rats during the tumorigenic process and mRNA extracted from exfoliated colon cells. This noninvasive technique (which is tested in humans) can detect changes in gene expression profiles over time, and used for early detection of cancer.

published proceedings

  • AIAA 57th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2006

author list (cited authors)

  • Lupton, J. R., Turner, N. D., Braby, L., Ford, J., Carroll, R. J., & Chapkin, R. S.

complete list of authors

  • Lupton, JR||Turner, ND||Braby, L||Ford, J||Carroll, RJ||Chapkin, RS

publication date

  • December 2006