Background/Aims: Patients suffering from the inflammatory disorder ulcerative colitis (UC) have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC). Previously, we demonstrated that Emu Oil (EO) reduced inflammation and protected the intestine against UC, NSAID-enteropathy and chemotherapy-induced mucositis. We aimed to determine whether orally-administered EO could reduce the severity of inflammation-associated CRC in mice.
Methods: Mice (n=8/group) were orally-administered either water or EO (EO1: 80microL or EO2: 160microL), thrice weekly. Mice were injected with azoxymethane (AOM), followed by 3 cycles each consisting of 7 days dextran sulphate sodium (DSS) and 14 days drinking water; and culled 3 weeks after the last cycle. Bodyweights, organ data and colonic tumour numbers were recorded. p<0.05 was considered significant.
Results: During the first 2 DSS-weeks, AOM/DSS decreased bodyweight gain compared to normal controls (maximum 23%; p<0.05). However, in AOM/DSS mice, EO2 increased bodyweight gain compared to untreated and EO1-treated mice (maximum 10%; p<0.05) during the 3rd DSS-week until cull. Spleen weight was greater in AOM/DSS-treated mice (water: 0.3±0.03%; EO1: 0.3±0.05%; EO2: 0.3±0.03% relative to bodyweight) compared to normal controls (0.2±0.05%; p<0.05). Thymus weight decreased only in AOM/DSS control mice, compared to normal controls (p<0.05). AOM/DSS resulted in CRC development (water: 10.1±1.7; EO1: 10.3±1.2; EO2: 9.4±1.7 tumour count) compared to normal controls (0±0; p<0.05).
Conclusions: Despite improved bodyweight, emu oil did not decrease the number of colonic tumours. Further studies underway include assessments of tumour size, histological morphometry, apoptosis and proliferation and pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Funding Source(s): Cancer Council of Western Australia