It has been demonstrated for the first time that a wheat germ extract prevents colonic cancer in laboratory animals. Four-week-old inbred male F-344 rats were used in the study. Colon carcinogenesis has been induced by azoxymethane (AOM). Ten rats served as untreated controls (group 1). For the treatment of the animals in group 2, AOM was dissolved in physiologic saline and the animals were given three subcutaneous injections 1 week apart, 15 mg/kg body weight (b/w) each. In two additional groups Avemar (MSC), a fermented wheat germ extract standardized to 2,6-dimethoxy-p-benzoquinone was administered as a tentative chemo-preventive agent.
MSC was dissolved in water and was given by gavage at a dose of 3 g/kg b/w once a day. In group 3, animals started to receive MSC 2 weeks prior to the first injection of AOM daily and continuously thereafter until they were killed 32 weeks later. In group 4 the basal diet and MSC were administered only. At the end of the experiment all the rats were killed by exsanguination, the abdominal large vessels were cut under a light ether anesthesia and a complete autopsy was performed. Percentage of animals developing colon tumors and number of tumors per animals: group 1 – 0 and 0; group 2– 83.0 and 2.3; group 3 – 44.8 (P < 0.001) and 1.3 (P < 0.004), group 4 – 0 and 0. All the tumors were of neoplastic nature also histologically. The numbers of the aberrant crypt foci (ACF) per area (cm2) in group 2 were 4.85 while in group 3 the ACF numbers were 2.03 only (P < 0.0001).