Chemopreventive effects of calcium but not aspirin supplementation in cholic acid-promoted colon carcinogenesis: Correlation with intermediate endpoints

Barbara C. Pence, Dale M. Dunn, Christina Zhao, Melanie Landers, Michael J. Wargovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Epidemiological studies have suggested that increased intake of calcium (Ca) or aspirin (ASA) is associated with a reduced risk for colon cancer. To delineate a possible mechanism of action, the present study used male F344 rats in an azoxymethane (AOM)-induced colon tumor model to study the single and interactive effects of Ca and ASA on cholic acid-promoted experimental colon carcinogenesis. Following initiation with AOM, a promotion diet containing 0.5% cholic acid was fed for 34 weeks until the adenoma development stage. Cholic acid was used as a surrogate for high-fat diets and to promote carcinogenesis. Diets were supplemented with CaCO3 (2% Ca by weight), 250 p.p.m. ASA, or both. After 34 weeks, the diets were switched during the progression stage and rats were killed at week 51. Several intermediate endpoints were examined during the course of AOM carcinogenesis to determine their reliability as predictors of colon cancer risk. Intermediate endpoints included colon crypt height measurement, colon mucosal ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and colon mucosal protein kinase C (PKC) activities. The biomarkers were examined at the beginning of the study at 2 weeks, and thereafter at 5, 15, 30 and 40 weeks of dietary treatment. Animals were necropsied at week 51 and tumor incidence and numbers were analyzed for correlation with biomarkers. Survival was highest in the group fed CaCO3 during the promotion stage and tumor burden was lowest in groups fed CaCO3 during this stage. Supplementation during the progression stage was ineffective. The cholic acid promotion model resulted in increased ODC which was inhibited by intervention during the promotion stage with Ca, but not ASA. PKC was also activated by cholic acid feeding, and this effect was modulated by intervention in the promotional stage with Ca or ASA. Colon tumor incidence and burden was increased by cholic acid promotion and decreased by Ca, but not affected by ASA. In summary, Ca is a more effective chemopreventive agent in cholic acid-promoted colon carcinogenesis than ASA, impacting both incidence and tumor number. Colonic ODC, but not PKC may be a suitable predictor of risk and response in chemoprevention trials for colon cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-765
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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