Calcium shows promise for chemoprevention of colorectal cancer (CRC). The way that calcium prevents CRC is unknown, but this study was done to research more information. Mice were studied with CRC induced chemically by DMH (1.2-dimethylhydrazine) injections. The mice were divided into groups with one group receiving normal mice feed and another receiving a high calcium carbonate feed. There was a control group that was not given cancer and there was a group without cancer that received calcium.
The mice were studied for cancer formations and for side effects over a period of 24 weeks. The tumors, most of which were adenomas, were studied for RNA abnormalities. Tumors were induced in 90% of the animals not receiving calcium, while only 40% of those treated with calcium developed CRC.
Mice which received DMH, 12,395 genes were altered compared to control group. The mice which received DMH and calcium had only 1,508 genes altered significantly. Of the genes altered by DMH, 549 could be reversed by dietary calcium.
CONCLUSION: The rate of colorectal cancer in mice following an injection of DMH was greatly reduced by treatment with dietary calcium. Many gene abnormalities caused by DMH could be reversed by calcium. (High doses of calcium were used in this study.)
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