Dietary Fiber pp 389-401 | Cite as

Influence of Soluble Fibers on Experimental Colon Carcinogenesis

  • Lucien R. Jacobs


The original fiber hypothesis of Burkitt (1971) proposed that a high consumption of fiber-containing foods is associated with a lower frequency of large bowel cancer. Although this association still seems valid, the mechanisms by which fiber-containing foods produce such an effect remain unclear. Furthermore, definitive clinical trials in humans to demonstrate the cancer-prevention properties of dietary fiber have yet to be successfully completed. In the meanwhile we have only the results from retrospective, correlation, and case-control studies in humans and controlled prospective studies in animals. In a recent review of the literature (Jacobs, 1988), I found that 62% of correlational and 48% of case-control studies showed evidence of a protective effect of dietary fiber. Moreover, out of the 11 case-control studies showing a protective effect, eight reports found vegetables to be the protective fiber-containing food. This suggests that not all fiber-containing foods are equally protective and that vegetables may be protective because of some ingredient they contain other than fiber. A further possible explanation is that not all forms of dietary fiber have a similar effect on colon carcinogenesis. Recent advances in the chemical analysis of dietary fibers and in our knowledge of the effects of fibers on gastrointestinal physiology have permitted a reanalysis of the fiber and cancer literature according to the physiochemical properties of individual fibers.


Bile Acid Dietary Fiber Wheat Bran Colon Carcinogenesis Soluble Fiber 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucien R. Jacobs
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Section of Nutrition, Division of GastroenterologyCedars-Sinai Medical CenterLos AngelesUSA

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