A large prospective study of meat consumption and colorectal cancer risk: an investigation of potential mechanisms underlying this association.

High intake of red and processed meat may promote the development of colorectal cancer in men and women.

This study investigated the relationship between red and processed meat consumption and colorectal cancer risk and the mechanisms behind this association. Using a validated food questionnaire, researchers examined the meat intake, type, and cooking methods of 300, 948 men and women. The mutagenic activity of the different types of mutagens [heterocyclic amines (DiMelQx, MelQx, and PhlP), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrate, and nitrite] produced by well-cooked meat, serum concentrations of heme iron, and colorectal cancer hazard ratios were measured in all the subjects.

Researchers discovered that high consumption of red and processed meat elevated the risk of developing colorectal cancer. DiMelQx, MelQx, PhlP, nitrate, nitrite, and heme iron were observed to be responsible for the increased colorectal cancer development risk. While high rectal cancer risk was linked to PHlP, nitrate, nitrite, and heme iron in this study, DiMelQx and MelQx were associated with only increased colon cancer risk. The result of this study supports the hypothesis that heterocyclic amines, nitrates, nitrites, and heme iron may be responsible for the positive association between red and processed meat consumption and colorectal cancer risk.

Research Summary Information

  • 2010
  • Cross AJ1, Ferrucci LM, Risch A, Graubard BI, Ward MH, Park Y, Hollenbeck AR, Schatzkin A, Sinha R.
  • Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Biostatistics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Department of Health and Human Services, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Rockville, Maryland, USA. crossa@mail.nih.gov
  • No, Free full text of study was not found.
  • Source of funding disclosure found
  • This research was supported [in part] by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, National Cancer Institute.
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