Diet, fecal water, and colon cancer - development of a biomarker

Jennifer R. Pearson, Chris Gill, Ian R. Rowland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer incidence worldwide. Lifestyle factors, especially dietary intake, affect the risk of CRC development. Suitable risk biomarkers are required in order to assess the effect that specific dietary components have on CRC risk. The relationship between dietary intake and indicators of fecal water activity has been assessed using cell and animal models as well as human studies. This review summarizes the literature on fecal water and dietary components with a view to establishing further the potential role of fecal water as a source of CRC risk biomarkers. The literature indicates that fecal water activity markers are affected by specific dietary components linked with CRC risk: red meat, saturated fats, bile acids, and fatty acids are associated with an increase in fecal water toxicity, while the converse appears to be true for calcium, probiotics, and prebiotics. However, it must be acknowledged that the study of fecal water is still in its infancy and a number of issues need to be addressed before its usefulness can be truly gauged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-526
JournalNutrition Reviews
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Sept 2009


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