Blame It on My Gut Bacteria: How Microbe-Host Interactions Influence DiseaseDallas R. DonohoeCollege of Education, Health, and Human Sciences - Nutrition
cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the U.S. and will result in over
50,000 deaths this year alone. Environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle
play a major role in colorectal cancer susceptibility. Dietary fiber has been
postulated to reduce colorectal cancer incidence. However, human
epidemiological studies as to whether fiber protects against colorectal cancer
have produced controversial results. These human studies have been confounded
by genetic heterogeneity among participants that also results in different
microbiomes and fiber fermentation properties.
Recently, we have found that butyrate, a product resulting from the
bacterial fermentation of fiber in the colon, protects against the formation of
colorectal tumors. Furthermore, we have observed that this protection provided
through a high fiber diet and butyrate is regulated by the metabolism of the
tumor cell. A high fiber dietary intervention represents a plausible,
maintainable, and non-toxic approach to reducing colorectal cancer incidence.