ROLE OF DIETARY PHYTOCHEMICALS IN PREVENTION OF COLON CANCER AND INFLAMMATION
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Inflammatory bowel disease cases are increasing, which may result from aberrant signaling in response to bacteria creating a pro-inflammatory environment. Recognizing chronic colon inflammation leads to increased risk of colon cancer, suppressing inflammation and the resultant oxidative damage with appropriate dietary interventions may contribute to a reduction in colon cancer. Thus, to achieve primary cancer chemoprevention and to slow growth of existing neoplasms we must identify compounds capable of suppressing inflammatory processes within the colon. Because dietary bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, can be in less digestible parts of plant foods, the vast majority enters the colon. In the colon, polyphenols become released from the food matrix and are readily available to influence bacteria and/or have direct action on colon cells. We have previously demonstrated that bioactive compounds possess varying abilities to suppress early preneoplastic lesions of colon cancer, in part due to their ability to alter signal transduction pathways and regulation of gene expression. The proposed work will extend these observations to determine whether these changes reduce tumor formation and if the diet effects are the result of changes in the bacteria in the colon. Our goal is to identify dietary interventions that will lead to maintenance of colon health by decreasing inflammation and colon carcinogenesis.