Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2020 Jul 8;19:100611. doi: 10.1016/j.conctc.2020.100611. eCollection 2020 Sep.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of cancer and second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Recent evidence has linked a high fat and animal protein diet and microbial metabolism of host bile acids as environmental risk factors for CRC development. We hypothesize that the primary bile salt taurocholic acid (TCA) is a key, diet-controlled metabolite whose use by bacteria yields a carcinogen and tumor-promoter, respectively. The work is motivated by our published
data indicating hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and secondary bile acid production by colonic bacteria, serve as environmental insults contributing to CRC risk. The central aim of this study is to test whether a diet high in animal protein and saturated fat increases abundance of bacteria that generate H2S and pro-inflammatory secondary bile acids in African Americans (AAs) at high risk for CRC. Our prospective, randomized, crossover feeding trial will examine two microbial mechanisms by which an animal-based diet may support the growth of TCA metabolizing bacteria. Each subject will receive two diets in a crossover design- an animal-based diet, rich in taurine and saturated fat, and a plant-based diet, low in taurine and saturated fat. A mediation model will be used to determine the extent to which diet (independent variable) and mucosal markers of CRC risk and DNA damage (dependent variables) are explained by colonic bacteria and their functions (mediator variables). This research will generate novel information targeted to develop effective dietary interventions that may reduce the unequal CRC burden in AAs.