In a study reported in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Kyrø and colleagues found that high levels of plasma alkylresorcinols, biomarkers of dietary whole-grain wheat and rye intake, were associated with reduced risk of distal colon cancer.
The study involved prediagnostic plasma samples from 1,372 colorectal cancer patients from Scandinavia, the Mediterranean, and Central Europe and 1,372 matched control subjects, all from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. High plasma total alkylresorcinol levels were associated with lower incidence of distal colon cancer, with an adjusted incidence rate ratio of 0.48 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.28–0.83) for the highest vs lowest quartile of plasma levels, but were not associated with reduced risk of overall colorectal cancer, proximal colon cancer, or rectal cancer.
There was a significant inverse association between total alkylresorcinol concentrations and colon cancer in Scandinavian subjects (incidence rate ratio per doubling = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.70–0.98). Plasma alkylresorcinol concentrations were associated with colon and distal colon cancer only in subjects from Central Europe and Scandinavia, the areas where alkylresorcinol levels were highest.
The investigators concluded, “High concentrations of plasma alkylresorcinols were associated with a lower incidence of distal colon cancer but not with overall colorectal cancer, proximal colon cancer, and rectal cancer.”