Several lines of evidence suggest that bile acids may be implicated in the pathogenesis of colonic cancer. A high consumption of fat and animal protein and a low dietary intake of fiber have been shown to be related to the incidence of colonic cancer. From these epidemiologic observations the hypothesis was proposed that the correlation between diet and colon cancer might be explained by the involvement of bile acids. Populations at a high risk of developing cancer were shown to have an increased excretion both of total and bacterially modified bile acids in their feces. Animal studies demonstrated a co-carcinogenic effect of bile acids and experimental diets containing large amounts of fat did not only induce an increased bile acid excretion but also an enhanced tumor formation in the colon. Furthermore, microbial in vitro tests showed a comutagenic activity of secondary bile acids.
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