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Dietary, endocrine, and metabolic factors in the development of colorectal cancer
Barone, M.; Lofano, K.; De Tullio, N.; Licino, R.; Albano, F.; Di Leo, A.
Introduction: Colorectal cancer is the third cause of death in industrialized countries. Genetic susceptibility and diet are determinant of cancer risk and tumor behavior. Variation in cancer incidence among and within populations with similar dietary patterns suggests that an individual response may reflect interactions with genetic factors, which may modify gene, protein, and metabolite expression patterns. Nutrigenomics, defined as the interaction between nutrition and an individual genome, will likely provide important clues about responders and non-responders to nutritional intervention. Discussion: Epidemiological and experimental studies suggest a protective role of some normal components of daily diet (fish oil, milk, and vegetables), estrogens, and phytoestrogens in colorectal cancer. The effect of estrogen seems to be mediated by their binding to estrogen receptor beta (ER-β), one of the two estrogen receptors with high affinity for these hormones. Very recently, the demonstration of an involvement of ER-β in the development of adenomatous polyps of the colon has also been documented, suggesting the use of selective ER-β agonists in primary colorectal cancer prevention. Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds that structurally and functionally act as estrogen agonists in mammals. They are characterized by a higher binding affinity to ER-β as compared to estrogen receptor alpha (ER-α), the other estrogen receptor subtype. These biological characteristics explain why the administration of phytoestrogens does not produce the classical side effects associated to estrogen administration (cerebro- and cardiovascular accidents, higher incidence of endometrial and breast cancer) and makes these substances potential candidates for colorectal cancer prevention. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Diet; Phytoestrogens; Estrogens; ER-beta
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