Diet Modulation of Bacterial Sulfur and Bile Acid Metabolism and Colon Cancer Risk

  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Illinois at Chicago
Updated on 3 February 2023
colon cancer
Accepts healthy volunteers


Determine in the context of a controlled crossover diet-intervention trial the role of taurocholic acid metabolism by gut bacteria in African American subjects at elevated risk for colorectal cancer (CRC). Two isocaloric diets, an animal-based diet high in taurine and saturated fat (HT-HSAT) and a plant-based, low in taurine and low saturated fat (LT-LSAT) will be used to determine the extent to which the relationship between diet (independent variable) and mucosal markers of CRC risk including epithelial proliferation, oxidative stress, DNA damage, and primary and secondary bile acid pools and biomarkers of inflammation (dependent variables) is explained by the abundance of sulfidogenic bacteria and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) concentrations &/or deoxycholic acid (DCA) and DCA-producing bacteria clostridium scindens (mediator variables).


Our research is designed to determine mechanistically why consumption of a high red meat and saturated fat diet imparts risk for CRC development and to demonstrate that primary microbial risk factors (sulfidogenic and bile acid metabolizing bacteria) are modifiable by diet. The focus is on taurine, an overlooked sulfur amino acid (SAA) that is abundant in red meat or provided by bacterial deconjugation of the bile salt TCA, which is increased in subjects consuming a diet high in saturated fat. Rationale for focusing the diet intervention study on AAs comes from the previously mentioned observation that a taurine respiring bacterium distinguished AA but not NHW CRC patients from healthy controls, and the previous work by PI Gaskins in AA subjects focused on mechanisms underlying the increased risk for CRC associated with consumption of a Western type diet.

Our strong collection of past publications and new preliminary data support our hypothesis that dietary sources of organic sulfur increase the abundance of microbes that generate H2S through taurine metabolism and that H2S activates proinflammatory pathways and serves as a genotoxin in the colonic mucosa. We're examining, for the first time bacteria that utilize taurine, which can be provided directly from red meat or indirectly through TCA in response to saturated fat. Our study will be the first to examine the consequences of such specific dietary manipulation on genotoxic or inflammatory pathways implicated in CRC development in at-risk AAs.

Our results will provide novel information regarding the in vivo interactions between diet and cancer that heretofore have not been explored in humans, particularly AAs. Food taurine content is not currently provided in either the University of Minnesota Nutrition Data System for Research (NDSR) or the USDA Standard Reference (USDA SR) nutrient databases, which are the gold standard sources for the nutrient content of food. Evidence that taurine is capable of inducing biomarkers of CRC risk through promoting growth of Sulfidogenic B. wadsworthia or other untargeted bacteria would be an important novel observation justifying the addition of this SAA to these nutrient databases. If our hypothesis is substantiated, simple vigilance of taurine intake might diminish susceptibility to CRC in all individuals, especially AAs at elevated risk. Further, if our hypothesis is upheld, it might be possible to reduce risk not only by dietary intervention but also by microbiota modification (potentially through pre-, pro- or synbiotics). Finally, if our study reveals particular modes of bacterial sulfur or bile acid metabolism correlating with epithelial proliferation or inflammation in AAs, the endpoints identified can potentially predict non-invasively elevated risk individuals who should be: a) advised on specific dietary interventions (those investigated herein); b) offered specific therapy to reduce risk; or c) counseled on regular colonoscopic screening

Condition Colorectal Cancer
Treatment High taurine and saturated fat diet, Low in taurine and saturated fat diet
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03550885
SponsorUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
Last Modified on3 February 2023

Similar trials to consider


Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note