Despite recent population data, the influence of dietary folate supplementation on colon cancer risk remains controversial. This study examines the effects of folate deficiency, in combination with choline, methionine, and vitamin B12 depletion, on intestinal tumorigenesis in ApcMin/+ mice. Methyl donor sufficient (MDS) and deficient (MDD) diets were started at five or 10 weeks of age and tumors evaluated at 16 weeks. MDD suppressed intestinal tumor formation in ApcMin/+ mice (∼80%) when started at five weeks of age. The protective effect was lost when MDD was initiated at 10 weeks of age, indicating an important time dependency on cancer suppression. Concomitant with cancer protection, MDD restricted body weight gain. Therefore, a second study was conducted in which MDS was given ad libitum or pair-fed with MDD. Although small intestinal tumors were reduced 54% in pair-fed MDS mice, MDD caused a further reduction (96%). In colon, although MDD did not affect tumor numbers, tumor size was reduced. Gene expression profiling of normal-appearing colonic mucosa after 11 weeks on MDD identified a total of 493 significantly downregulated genes relative to the MDS group. Pathway analysis placed many of these genes within general categories of inflammatory signaling and cell-cycle regulation, consistent with recently published human data obtained during folate depletion. Further studies are warranted to investigate the complex interplay of methyl donor status and cancer protection in high-risk populations. Cancer Prev Res; 5(7); 1–10. ©2012 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Prevention Research Online (http://cancerprevres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received November 28, 2011.
- Revision received May 21, 2012.
- Accepted May 23, 2012.
- ©2012 American Association for Cancer Research.