Calcium and vitamin D modify the molecular phenotypic profiles of colon crypts in the normal colorectal mucosa of colorectal adenoma patients, but their effects on crypt morphology (length, perimeter, and area) are unknown. We analyzed data from a previously conducted pilot, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 2 × 2 factorial chemoprevention clinical trial of supplemental calcium 2000 mg/d and vitamin D3 800 IU/d, alone and in combination, versus placebo over 6 mo. Colorectal crypt length, perimeter, and area in the normal-appearing rectal mucosa were quantified by image analysis. The mean crypt length increased by 1% (P = 0.92) in the calcium group, and decreased by 2% (P = 0.69) and 4% (P = 0.40) in the vitamin D and calcium plus vitamin D groups, respectively, relative to the placebo group. The mean crypt perimeter decreased by 2% (P = 0.70) and 4% (P = 0.40) in the vitamin D and calcium plus vitamin D groups, respectively, relative to the placebo group, but did not change appreciably in the calcium group. The mean crypt area decreased by 2% (P = 0.74), 5% (P = 0.41) and 7% (P = 0.30) in the calcium, vitamin D and calcium plus vitamin D groups, respectively, relative to the placebo group. Calcium and/or vitamin D3 supplementation do not appear to appreciably change crypt morphology in the normal colorectal mucosa of sporadic adenoma patients. These results, taken together with previous findings, support the use of molecular phenotypic over morphologic pre-neoplastic biomarkers of risk for colorectal neoplasms. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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