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

E. Bidoli, S. Franceschi, R. Talamini, S. Barra, C. La Vecchia

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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-gain 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 factor for colo-rectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-229
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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