More than half of all gastrointestinal cancers are estimated to be related to diet, write European researchers this week. It is consequently of utmost importance to identify the components in the diet that may reduce (or induce) colorectal cancer risk by various mechanisms.
A new in-vitro screening assay is being developed at the Netherlands-based food research centre TNO Voeding to detect preventive or inhibitory effects of food components on the initiation or development of colorectal cancer.
Scientists involved in the European-funded project at TNO Voeding claim the screening assay is based on detection of the genomic changes (multi-gene expression and changes in protein concentrations) involved in colorectal carcinogenesis.
The project is identifying genes linked to the process of colorectal cancer development and prevention in both a human and a rat model and uses a number of carcinogens agents and anti-carcinogenic agents, including the flavonoid resveratrol. They are also mapping the proteins expressed (the proteome) in healthy and tumour tissue as well as in cancer cell lines.
The European researchers claim that the model compound used, resveratrol, is a promising food component with a very potent inhibitor effect on human colon cancer cell growth in vitro. After prolonged exposure to many cancer cell lines, an increased necrosis of these cells is witnessed.
Further information about the above European funded project (QLK1-1999-00706 (FFACC)) can be obtained from Dr Ruud Woutersen at TNO Voeding, email Jbhgrefra@ibrqvat.gab.ay