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Adherence to the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research cancer prevention recommendations and WNT-pathway-related markers of bowel cancer risk

  • Fiona C. Malcomson (a1), Naomi D. Willis (a1), Iain McCallum (a1), Long Xie (a1), Seamus Kelly (a1), David Michael Bradburn (a1), Nigel J. Belshaw (a2), Ian T. Johnson (a2) and John C. Mathers (a1)...


Bowel cancer risk is strongly influenced by lifestyle factors including diet and physical activity. Several studies have investigated the effects of adherence to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF)/American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) cancer prevention recommendations on outcomes such as all-cause and cancer-specific mortality, but the relationships with molecular mechanisms that underlie the effects on bowel cancer risk are unknown. This study aimed to investigate the relationships between adherence to the WCRF/AICR cancer prevention recommendations and wingless/integrated (WNT)-pathway-related markers of bowel cancer risk, including the expression of WNT pathway genes and regulatory microRNA (miRNA), secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (SFRP1) methylation and colonic crypt proliferative state in colorectal mucosal biopsies. Dietary and lifestyle data from seventy-five healthy participants recruited as part of the DISC Study were used. A scoring system was devised including seven of the cancer prevention recommendations and smoking status. The effects of total adherence score and scores for individual recommendations on the measured outcomes were assessed using Spearman’s rank correlation analysis and unpaired t tests, respectively. Total adherence score correlated negatively with expression of Myc proto-oncogene (c-MYC) (P=0·039) and WNT11 (P=0·025), and high adherers had significantly reduced expression of cyclin D1 (CCND1) (P=0·042), WNT11 (P=0·012) and c-MYC (P=0·048). Expression of axis inhibition protein 2 (AXIN2), glycogen synthase kinase (GSK3β), catenin β1 (CTNNB1) and WNT11 and of the oncogenic miRNA miR-17 and colonic crypt kinetics correlated significantly with scores for individual recommendations, including body fatness, red meat intake, plant food intake and smoking status. The findings from this study provide evidence for positive effects of adherence to the WCRF/AICR cancer prevention recommendations on WNT-pathway-related markers of bowel cancer risk.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Professor J. C. Mathers, fax +44 1912081101, email


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