Emerging Evidence on the Role of Estrogenic Sorghum Flavonoids in Colon Cancer Prevention
Consumption of whole grains has been linked to reduced risk of colon cancer. The benefits of fiber and antioxidant minerals and vitamins found in whole grains are well recognized. The inherent estrogen-like activities of specific polyphenols contained in whole grains also play an important role in colon cancer prevention. Estrogen is believed to protect damaged colonocytes and prevent them from developing into malignancies. The protective effects of estrogen, such as induction of apoptosis and tumor-suppressing genes, are believed to be mediated via estrogen receptor-β, the predominant estrogen receptor (ER) in the colon. Emerging evidence on the role of specific flavonoids that are abundant in sorghum in ER-mediated colon cancer prevention are discussed. The overall implication of the evidence for the importance of whole grain consumption in colorectal cancer prevention is highlighted.