Bitter Melon, (BM) Momordica charantiais known in Asia for regulation of blood glucose levels and as a treatment for Diabetes mellitus. However, studies on its effect in preventing cancer are scarce. This study was conducted to investigate the chemopreventive properties of bitter melon on azoxymethane (AOM)-induced Aberrant Crypt Foci (ACF) in Fisher 344 male rats and determine its effects on selected hepatic detoxification and antioxidant enzymes. Rats were fed AIN93G as control (C) and treatment diets containing 2 and 4% BM. At 7 and 8 weeks of age, ACF was induced by administering 2 s/c injections of AOM at 16 mg kg-1 b.wt. and killed by CO2 asphyxiation at 17 weeks of age. Total ACF in proximal and distal colons were 35, 26 and 21; 116, 54 and 38 in rats fed C, 2% BM and 4% BM, respectively. Catalase and SOD activities (μmol mg-1) were higher in rats fed treatment diets (0.293 and 0.03; 1.82 and 0.27 for rats fed 2 and 4% BM, respectively) compared to control (0.04). Glutathione-S-Transferase (GST) (μmol mg-1) activity and Glutathione (GSH) levels were higher in treatment groups compared to control. Physicochemical analysis was conducted on bitter melon fruit (total phenolics, free radical scavenging activity (DPPH) and Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP)). Total phenolic content was 34.31 mg/GAE/g fresh fruit, DPPH activity was 2.99% and FRAP was 0.652 μmol Fe2+/g/mL. Results indicate bitter melon reduced incidence of AOM induced ACF. Thus inclusion of BM in diets may have possible implications in reducing the risk of colon cancer.
D. Asiamah, M. Verghese, J. Boateng, B. Kanda, L. Shackelford and L.T. Walker, 2011. Chemopreventive Potential of Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) against Precancerous Lesions in the Colon of Fisher 344 Male Rats. International Journal of Cancer Research, 7: 36-46.