Diet and colorectal cancer risk: current views

Authors A. Giacosa, M. Rondanelli, H. Cena, F. Frascio, M.J. Hill.


Large bowel cancer (CRC) is amongst the most common
cancers in North America, Australasia and western Europe.
The major risk factors of CRC are genetic and dietary. Evidence
regarding genetic polymorphisms which may influence
the metabolism of nutrients thought to be important
in the aetiology of CRC and colorectal adenomatous polyps
is discussed. At present, the strongest evidence of genenutrient
interaction in relation to CRC is for folate and
genetic variants associated with differences in metabolism
of folate. Significant trends of increasing CRC risk with
increasing intake emerged for total energy, bread and pasta,
cakes and desserts, and refined sugar have been observed
in recent Italian studies. Most vegetables, including pulses,
were inversely associated with CRC. Among macronutrients,
a high intake of starch and saturated fat seemed to
lead to an increased risk of cancer. High intakes of polyunsaturated
fatty acids (chiefly derived from olive oil and seed
oils) showed a marginal inverse association with CRC. In
the present paper the relation between meat consumption
and cancer risk is reviewed showing that there is little evidence
to support this relationship.
Key words: cancer risk, colorectal cancer, diet, energy intake,
genetic polymorphism, prevention, physical activity
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