Food consumption and cancer of the colon and rectum in north-eastern Italy

Authors

  • Ettore Bidoli,

    1. Epidemiology Unit, Aviano Cancer Center, Via Pedemontana Occ., 33081 Aviano (PN), Italy
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  • Silvia Franceschi,

    Corresponding author
    1. Epidemiology Unit, Aviano Cancer Center, Via Pedemontana Occ., 33081 Aviano (PN), Italy
    2. European Cancer Prevention Organization (ECP), Epidemiology and Cancer Working Group, Brussels, Belgium
    • Epidemiology Unit, Aviano Cancer Center
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  • Renato Talamini,

    1. Epidemiology Unit, Aviano Cancer Center, Via Pedemontana Occ., 33081 Aviano (PN), Italy
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  • Salvatore Barra,

    1. Epidemiology Unit, Aviano Cancer Center, Via Pedemontana Occ., 33081 Aviano (PN), Italy
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  • Carlo La Vecchia

    1. “Mario Negri” Institute for Pharmacological Research, Via Eritrea 62, 20157 Milan, Italy
    2. Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Lausanne, Bugnon 17, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland
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Abstract

The relation between dietary factors and the risk of colorectal cancer was investigated in a case-control study conducted in Pordenone province, North-eastern Italy, on 123 cases of colon cancer, 125 of rectal cancer and 699 controls admitted to hospital for acute, non-neoplastic or digestive disorders. Consistent positive associations were observed with more frequent consumption of bread (odds ratio, OR = 2.1 for colon and 2.2 for rectum for highest vs. lowest tertile), polenta (OR = 2.1 for colon, 1.9 for rectum), cheese (OR = 1.7 for colon, 1.8 for rectum) and eggs (2.5 for colon, 1.9 for rectum), whereas reduced ORs were observed in subjects reporting more frequent consumption of tomatoes (OR = 0.5 for colon and 0.4 for rectum). High consumption of margarine exerted a significant protection against cancer of the colon whereas high consumption of carrots, spinach, whole-grain bread and pasta (favorably) and red meat (unfavorably) affected rectal cancer risk in particular. Thus the present study gives support for a protective effect associated with a fiber-rich or vegetable-rich diet, while it indicates that frequent consumption of refined starchy foods, eggs and fat-rich foods such as cheese and red meat is a risk factpr for colo-rectal cancer.

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