Colorectal cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer death worldwide. The mechanism of colorectal carcinogenesis is still unknown, so that the prevention of colorectal cancer is strongly desired. The bile acids, cholesterol derivatives, were thought to be implicated in the pathogenesis of many diseases. In particular, secondary bile acids are thought to be associated with the colorectal carcinogenesis regarding the colorectal mucosal proliferation, apoptosis, and oxidative DNA damage. On the other hand, certain bile acids, ursodeoxycholate, might protect against colorectal carcinogenesis. This review will examine the opposing effects on colorectal tumor promotion and tumor inhibition.
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