Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 727–739 | Cite as

Butyrate and the colonocyte

Implications for neoplasia
  • Omaida C. Velázquez
  • Howard M. Lederer
  • John L. Rombeau
Gastrointestinal Oncology Review Article


Butyrate is produced in the colon of mammals as a result of microbial fermentation of dietary fiber, undigested starch, and proteins. Butyrate may be an important protective agent in colonic carcinogenesis. Trophic effects on normal colonocytesin vitro andin vivo are induced by butyrate. In contrast, butyrate arrests the growth of neoplastic colonocytes and inhibits the preneoplastic hyperproliferation induced by some tumor promotersin vitro. We speculate that selective effects on G-protein activation may explain this paradox of butyrate's effects in normal versus neoplastic colonocytes. Butyrate induces differentiation of colon cancer cell lines. It also regulates the expression of molecules involved in colonocyte growth and adhesion and inhibits the expression of several protooncogenes relevant to colorectal carcinogenesis. Additional studies are needed to evaluate butyrate's antineoplastic effectsin vivo and to understand its mechanism(s) of action.

Key Words

butyrate colonocytes cancer proliferation differentiation oncogenes 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Omaida C. Velázquez
    • 1
    • 2
  • Howard M. Lederer
    • 1
    • 2
  • John L. Rombeau
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department Harrison Department of Surgical ResearchUniversity of Pennsylvania Medical CenterPhiladelphia
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryHospital of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia

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