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Dietary fibers and colorectal cancer

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Background: The constant increasing of the incidence rate of colorectal cancer during the last decades and the increased associated mortality rate are a serious public health problem. Effective prevention can be achieved through diet modulation. Dietary fibers are subjected to comprehensive research in this aspect. The evidence, though, is still disputable and requires additional scientific studies. The aim of this study was to analyze and assess the scientific evidence on the role of dietary fibers as a factor for colorectal cancer prevention.

Methods: The selection of scientific publications was realized with the help of Scopus and PubMed, searching for the key words colorectal cancer, nutrition, dietary fibers. The analysis covered a period starting in 1970 (first scientific report published discussing on the association between dietary fibers and colorectal cancer) until nowadays – 2015. Results and Discussion: The results are presented in two main aspects: mechanisms of fibers action and studies on their intake by patients with colorectal carcinoma. The role of fibers on the development of microbiota in the colon is outlined, focusing on the metabolism of bile acids, changes in pH and production of short-chain fatty acids. The analysis of relevant scientific publications shows variable interpretation of the possible mechanisms for preventive potential of dietary fibers against colorectal cancer.

Conclusions: The analysis of the scientific evidence showed that, in spite of the numerous studies conducted during the last fifty years the role of fibers in colorectal cancer was still disputable. Further studies are necessary in the various dimensions of the nutrition-colorectal cancer issue, focusing on dietary fibers. Abbreviations: CRC – colorectal cancer

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