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Cancer Lett. 1992 Feb; 62(1): 11-21.

Fecapentaene excretion and fecal mutagenicity in relation to nutrient intake and fecal parameters in humans on omnivorous and vegetarian diets.

de Kok TM, van Faassen A, Bausch-Goldbohm RA, ten Hoor F, Kleinjans JC.

Department of Health Risk Analysis and Toxicology, University of Limburg, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Fecapentaenes are strong fecal mutagenic compounds presumably occurring in the majority of Western human individuals, and are possibly essential initiators of colon carcinogenesis. Dietary factors have been shown to influence colorectal cancer risk and to modulate both fecal mutagenicity and fecapentaene concentrations. Therefore, in this study, excretion of fecapentaenes is determined in humans consuming either vegetarian or omnivorous diets. The results show that the most predominant fecapentaene forms are excreted in higher concentrations by vegetarians. Consumption of cereal fiber, calcium and carotene as well as fecal concentrations of iso-lithocholic acid were found to correlate positively with excreted concentrations of one or more fecapentaene analogues. On average, 22% of excreted fecapentaene concentrations was found to be related to nutrient intake in stepwise regression models. Dietary calcium intake was found to be the most significant factor positively correlating with excreted fecapentaene concentrations. Intake of mono-unsaturated fatty acids or fiber from vegetables and fruit could be shown to correlate with fecapentaene excretion to a lesser degree. Despite high fecapentaene concentrations in fecal dichloromethane extracts, only 1 out of 20 samples revealed significant mutagenic activity in Salmonella typhimurium TA 100. Further, aqueous extracts of feces from omnivores appeared to be equally mutagenic as feces from vegetarians and contained non-detectable concentrations of fecapentaenes. It is concluded that dietary factors do affect excreted fecapentaene levels, but only to a relatively minor extent. Since vegetarians at low risk for colorectal cancer excrete higher concentrations of fecapentaenes, it could be hypothesized that relatively increased fecapentaene excretion in combination with antimutagenic compounds in feces represents colon cancer prevention.

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