Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 483–489 | Cite as

Association Between 6-n-Propylthiouracil (PROP) Bitterness and Colonic Neoplasms

  • Marc D. Basson
  • Linda M. Bartoshuk
  • Susan Z. DiChello
  • Lisa Panzini
  • James M. Weiffenbach
  • Valerie B. DuffyEmail author


Inadequate vegetable intake appears to increase colon cancer risk. Since genetic variation in taste influences vegetable preference, we tested associations between bitterness of 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP), a measure of taste genetics, and number of colonic polyps, a measure of colon cancer risk, in 251 men who underwent screening lower endoscopy. Patients used the general Labeled Magnitude Scale to rate bitterness of 1.6 mg PROP delivered via filter paper. A subset of 86 patients reported weekly vegetable intakes, excluding salad or potatoes. PROP bitterness correlated significantly with polyp number, an effect separate from age-associated increases in polyp number. The PROP–polyp relationship was strongest in men over 66 years, and older men with polyps were most likely to be overweight or obese. In the subset reporting vegetable intake, men who tasted PROP as more bitter consumed fewer vegetables. These preliminary findings suggest that taste genetics may influence colon cancer risk, possibly through intake of vegetables.


colon cancer diet vegetable intake polyps bitter taste genetics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc D. Basson
    • 1
  • Linda M. Bartoshuk
    • 2
  • Susan Z. DiChello
    • 3
  • Lisa Panzini
    • 4
  • James M. Weiffenbach
    • 5
  • Valerie B. Duffy
    • 4
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Departments of SurgeryWayne State University and John D. Dingell VA Medical CenterDetroit
  2. 2.Departments of SurgeryYale University School of SurgeryNew Haven
  3. 3.Departments of Surgery and MedicineYale University School of MedicineNew Haven
  4. 4.Veterans Health Administration/Veterans Affairs Medical CenterBay Pines
  5. 5.National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, NIHBethesdaUSA
  6. 6.School of Allied HealthUniversity of ConnecticutStorrs

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