Doctor Martín Arribas outlines that "four weeks after being administered with the chemical compound azoxymethane (AOM), intestinal mucus from premalignant neoplastic lesions appeared. These lesions are called 'aberrant crypt foci' and are considered to be good markers of colon cancer pathogenesis."
The results of the study showed that the rats fed a cocoa-rich diet had a significantly reduced number of aberrant crypts in the colon induced by the carcinogen. Likewise, this sample saw an improvement in their endogenous antioxidant defences and a decrease in the markers of oxidative damage induced by the toxic compound in this cell.
The researchers conclude that the protection effect of cocoa can stop cell-signalling pathways involved in cell proliferation and, therefore, subsequent neoplasty and tumour formation. Lastly, the animals fed with the cocoa-rich diet showed an increase in apoptosis or programmed cell death as a chemoprevention mechanism against the development of the carcinogenesis.