University of Oulu

Tuomisto, A., Nørskov, N. P., Sirniö, P., Väyrynen, J. P., Mutt, S. J., Klintrup, K., … Herzig, K.-H. (2019). Serum enterolactone concentrations are low in colon but not in rectal cancer patients. Scientific Reports, 9(1).

Serum enterolactone concentrations are low in colon but not in rectal cancer patients

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Author: Tuomisto, Anne1,2; Nørskov, Natalja P.3; Sirniö, Päivi1,2;
Organizations: 1Cancer and Translational Medicine Research Unit, Department of Pathology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Oulu University Hospital and Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Aarhus University, Department of Animal Science, AU-Foulum, Blichers Alle 20, P.O. Box 50, DK-8830, Tjele, Denmark
4Department of Oncologic Pathology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
5Research Unit of Biomedicine and Biocenter of Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Research Unit of Surgery, Anesthesia and Intensive Care, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; Department of Surgery, Oulu University Hospital and Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7Department of Gastroenterology and Metabolism, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-08-20


The dietary lignan metabolite, enterolactone, has been suggested to have anti-cancer functions, and high serum enterolactone concentrations have been associated with decreased risk of breast and prostate cancers. We hypothesized that serum enterolactone concentrations as a marker of plant-based foods are associated with decreased risk in colorectal cancer (CRC). We measured serum enterolactone glucuronide and sulfate concentrations by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry in 115 CRC patients and 76 sex- and age-matched controls and analyzed the results with respect to tumor parameters, clinical parameters, and systemic inflammatory markers. Patients with colon cancer had significant lower serum enterolactone glucuronide and sulfate concentrations than controls (glucuronide: median 3.14 nM vs. 6.32 nM, P < 0.001; sulfate: median 0.13 nM vs. 0.17 nM, P = 0.002), whereas rectal cancer patients had similar enterolactone levels as controls (glucuronide: median 5.39 nM vs. 6.32 nM, P = 0.357; sulfate: median 0.19 nM vs. 0.17 nM, P = 0.452). High serum enterolactone concentrations were associated with low tumor grade, high serum creatinine levels, and concomitant diabetes. In summary, our results suggest that serum enterolactone concentrations are decreased in colon but not in rectal cancer. Further investigations are required to assess whether this reflects an altered lignan metabolism by the colon microbiome.

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Series: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
ISSN-E: 2045-2322
ISSN-L: 2045-2322
Volume: 9
Article number: 11209
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-47622-6
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3111 Biomedicine
Funding: This work was supported by grants from Medical Research Center Oulu and Thelma Mäkikyrö Foundation.
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