Red and processed meats are considered risk factors for colorectal cancer (CRC); however, the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. One cause for the potential link between CRC and meat is the heme iron in red meat. Two pathways by which heme and CRC promotion may be linked have been suggested: fat peroxidation and N-nitrosation. In the present work we have used the novel A/J Min/+ mouse model to test the effects of dietary hemin (a model of red meat), and hemin in combination with nitrite (a model of processed meat) on intestinal tumorigenesis. Mice were fed a low Ca<sup>2+</sup> and vitamin D semi-synthetic diet with added hemin and/or nitrite for 8 weeks post weaning, before termination followed by excision and examination of the intestinal tract. Our results indicate that dietary hemin decreased the number of colonic lesions in the A/J Min/+ mouse. However, our results also showed that the opposite occurred in the small intestine, where dietary hemin appeared to stimulate tumor growth. Furthermore, we find that nitrite, which did not have an effect in the colon, appeared to have a suppressive effect on tumor growth in the small intestine.
Sødring, M., Oostindjer, M., Egelandsdal, B., & Paulsen, J. E. (2015). Effects of hemin and nitrite on intestinal tumorigenesis in the A/J Min/+ mouse model. PLoS ONE, 10(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0122880