British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Diet and cancer: assessing the risk

C. I. R. Gilla1 c1 and I. R. Rowlanda1

a1 University of Ulster, Cromore Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, BT52 1SA, UK


Globally, colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of mortality from malignant disease. Case–control and cohort studies provide strong support for a role of diet in the aetiology of CRC. However to establish causal relationships and to identify more precisely the dietary components involved, intervention studies in human subjects are required. Cancer is an impractical endpoint in terms of numbers, cost, study duration and ethical considerations. Consequently, intermediate biomarkers of the disease are required. This review aims to provide an overview of the intermediate endpoints available for the study of CRC, particularly non-invasive faecal biomarkers. Examples of their use in dietary intervention studies are given.


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr C. I. R. Gill, fax +44 (0) 2870 324965,