Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Mortality from colorectal cancer, a leading cause of death in the U.S.A. and other western countries, has remained unchanged over the past 45 years. Therefore, the search for strategies to prevent the development and progression of colorectal cancer has markedly intensified. Chemoprevention is one such strategy. Accumulating evidence suggests that folic acid, a water soluble vitamin, could be an effective chemopreventive agent for colorectal cancer. Results from several studies have demonstrated that a diet deficient in folic acid may be associated with an increased risk of colonic neoplasia, whereas dietary supplementation of this nutrient may be chemopreventive. Although the mechanisms by which folic acid exerts its chemopreventive role in colorectal carcinogenesis remain to be fully elucidated, supplemental folic acid has been shown to arrest the loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of the tumor suppressor gene DCC (deleted in colorectal cancer) and to stabilize its protein in normal appearing rectal mucosa of patients with colorectal adenomas. Data from in vitro studies utilizing colon cancer cell lines suggest that supplemental folic acid or its metabolite 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTF) attenuates the expression and activation of EGF-receptor (EGFR) as well as proliferation of cells. The folic acid mediated reduction of EGFR function could partly be the result of suppression of EGFR gene through increased methylation of CpG sequences within its promoter.