Dietary total antioxidant capacity and colorectal cancer in the Italian epic cohort

Marilena Monica Vece, Claudia Agnoli, Sara Grioni, Sabina Sieri, Valeria Pala, Nicoletta Pellegrini, Graziella Frasca, Rosario Tumino, Amalia Mattiello, Salvatore Panico, Benedetta Bendinelli, Giovanna Masala, Fulvio Ricceri, Carlotta Sacerdote, Vittorio Krogh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide. Diet has been hypothesized as involved in colorectal cancer etiology, but few studies on the influence of total dietary antioxidant intake on colorectal cancer risk have been performed. Methods We investigated the association between colorectal cancer risk and the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of the diet, and also of intake of selected antioxidants, in 45,194 persons enrolled in 5 centers (Florence, Naples, Ragusa, Turin and Varese) of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Italy study. TAC was estimated by the Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) assay. Hazard ratios (HRs) for developing colorectal cancer, and colon and rectal cancers separately, adjusted for confounders, were estimated for tertiles of TAC by Cox modeling, stratifying by center. Results Four hundred thirty-six colorectal cancers were diagnosed over a mean follow-up of 11.28 years. No significant association between dietary TAC and colorectal cancer incidence was found. However for the highest category of TAC compared to the lowest, risk of developing colon cancer was lower (HR: 0.63; 95% CI: 0.44-0.89, P trend: 0.008). By contrast, increasing TAC intake was associated with significantly increasing risks of rectal cancer (2nd tertile HR: 2.09; 95%CI: 1.19-3.66; 3rd tertile 2.48 95%CI: 1.32-4.66; P trend 0.007). Intakes of vitamin C, vitamin E, and ß-carotene were not significantly associated with colorectal cancer risk. Conclusions Further prospective studies are needed to confirm the contrasting effects of high total antioxidant intake on risk of colon and rectal cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0142995
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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