The influence of dietary proteins on colon cancer risk

Graeme H. McIntosh, Richard K. Le Leu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Experimental evidence is accumulating from animal models and in vitro data which shows that dietary proteins can influence cancer expression, some having a promotional influence, others a preventative effect relative to an arbitrarily established standard diet. This result will to a degree be determined by the nature of the cancer model under study. Dairy proteins have been shown to be relatively protective when compared with defatted soybean meal and cooked red meat in the rat dimethylhydrazine-induced (DMH) colon cancer model. Some epidemiological evidence supports these experimental observations. Both protein and fat appear to be influencing outcome, with potential for interactive effects. A number of possible mechanisms have been postulated as to how these proteins and closely associated factors could be influencing colon cancer risk, an area that deserves more investigation. Combinations of foods such as dairy foods with cereals and/or probiotic bacteria provide potentially interesting alliances in reducing colon cancer risk. The combining of relatively protective agents deserves more investigation as to its potential, in devising functional foods and diets worthy of further evaluation, in animal models of cancer, and human intervention studies using relevant endpoint markers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1066
Number of pages14
JournalNutrition Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Colon cancer
  • Dietary proteins
  • Mechanisms
  • Rat cancer model


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