Cholesterol feeding of rats with colon cancer induced by dimethylhydrazine results in reduced survival and an increased incidence of metastatic colon cancer. As cholesterol may be implicated in the induction or maintenance of the metastatic process, an experiment was designed to determine whether rats with colon cancer would benefit from the removal of cholesterol from the diet. Female Wistar rats were treated with a colon cancer-inducing regimen of dimethylhydrazine (40 mg/kg/week for 10 weeks) while being fed on a standard cholesterol-containing rat pellet diet. After two rats had died spontaneously of histologically proven adenocarcinoma of the colon at 24 weeks, the remaining rats were randomly allocated in groups of 15 to one of three dietary regimens. Group S continued to receive standard pellet diet, group V were fed on Vivonex alone and group VC were fed Vivonex plus cholesterol (10 mg/100 ml Vivonex). Each group was assessed for survival and incidence of histologically proven metastatic disease. There were no differences in either survival or incidence of metastases when groups S and VC were compared. In the cholesterol deprived group V, however, there was a significant increase in survival compared with groups S and VC (p less than 0.02) and this was due to a significant reduction in the incidence of metastases (p less than 0.05). Cholesterol deprivation therefore benefits rats with established colon cancer induced by dimethylhydrazine by improving survival and reducing the incidence of metastases.
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