Digestive Disease Week

Digestive Disease Week

May 06, 2017
2 min read

Increased fiber intake may reduce mortality rates in CRC

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CHICAGO — Researchers linked an increased fiber intake among patients with colorectal cancer with a lower risk of cancer-related mortality, according a study presented at Digestive Disease Week.

“Currently more than 1.4 million Americans are living with colorectal cancer, which account for ... 9% of all cancer survivors. Given the advancement of cancer treatment, this number is increasing rapidly and posing a challenge for clinical management of cancer,” Mingyang Song, MD, ScD, from the Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a presentation. “There is convincing evidence that consumption of foods containing fiber protects against colorectal cancer.”

Following previous convincing data that suggested high fiber intake protects against the incidence of CRC among otherwise healthy individuals, the researchers evaluated data of 1,581 patients with colorectal cancer who completed a validated food frequency questionnaire at least 1 year after diagnosis. The researchers then assessed prospective intake of total fiber for a median of 10 years follow-up.

Patients who consumed the lowest amount of fiber compared with those who consumed the highest level of fiber in the cohort, had higher BMI (26.4 vs. 25.7 kg/m2; P = .006), less physical activity by hours per week (13.8 vs. 25.4 hours; P < .001) and smoked more by pack-years of smoking (23.4 vs. 11.5; P < .001). Additionally, patients who consumed a higher intake of fiber had a lower stage of cancer (P = .01).

Higher fiber intake after diagnosis was associated with lower risk of CRC-related mortality (P = .04) and all-cause mortality (P = .01). Compared with the patients who consumed the least amount of fiber in the cohort, patients who consumed the most had a 54% lower risk of CRC-related morality (HR = 0.46; 95% CI, 0.24-0.87) and 28% lower risk of all-cause mortality (HR = 0.72; 95% CI, 0.54-0.96).

According to Song, 25 grams per day of fiber is the current recommended minimum in the American Dietary Guidelines, whereas the average American currently consumes approximately 15 grams. “The 25 grams per day cut is something we need to achieve optimized patients’ cancer prognosis,” he said.

In a review of fiber from specific food sources, the researchers found that cereal fiber was significantly associated with lower rates of mortality for CRC-related mortality (P = .02) and all-cause mortality (P = .006). Fruit and vegetable fiber, however, was not significantly associated.

“We found a higher intake of fiber after the diagnosis of colorectal cancer minimizes the risk of colorectal cancer-specific and all-cause mortality. Our findings provide us with recommendations for maintaining sufficient fiber intake in all colon cancer survivors,” Song concluded. – by Talitha Bennett


Song M, et al. Abstract 82. Presented at: Digestive Disease Week; May 6-9, 2017; Chicago.

Disclosure : Song reports no relevant financial disclosures.