Cancer Causes & Control

, 22:1627

A prospective study of intakes of zinc and heme iron and colorectal cancer risk in men and women

Authors

    • Channing Laboratory at Landmark Center (West Wing), Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • Edward L. Giovannucci
    • Channing Laboratory at Landmark Center (West Wing), Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
    • Department of NutritionHarvard School of Public Health
    • Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public Health
  • Stephanie A. Smith-Warner
    • Department of NutritionHarvard School of Public Health
    • Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public Health
  • Kana Wu
    • Department of NutritionHarvard School of Public Health
  • Charles S. Fuchs
    • Channing Laboratory at Landmark Center (West Wing), Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
    • Department of Medical OncologyDana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School
  • Michael Pollak
    • Department of OncologyMcGill University and Lady Davis Research Institute
  • Walter C. Willett
    • Channing Laboratory at Landmark Center (West Wing), Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
    • Department of NutritionHarvard School of Public Health
    • Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public Health
  • Jing Ma
    • Channing Laboratory at Landmark Center (West Wing), Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10552-011-9839-z

Cite this article as:
Zhang, X., Giovannucci, E.L., Smith-Warner, S.A. et al. Cancer Causes Control (2011) 22: 1627. doi:10.1007/s10552-011-9839-z

Abstract

Although laboratory studies linked zinc and heme iron to colorectal cancer, epidemiologic evidence is limited. We prospectively examined these associations in the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. We used Cox proportional hazards regression analyses to calculate cohort-specific relative risks (RRs) and pooled results using a fixed-effects model. We documented 2,114 incident colorectal cancer cases during up to 22 years of follow-up. Compared highest to lowest quintile of dietary zinc intake, the pooled multivariable RRs (95% CIs) were 0.86 (0.73, 1.02) for colorectal cancer, 0.92 (0.76, 1.11) for colon cancer, and 0.68 (0.47, 0.99) for rectal cancer. The significant inverse association between dietary zinc intake and risk of rectal cancer was mainly driven by data in women, although the difference in the sex-specific results was not statistically significant. For the same comparison, the pooled multivariable RRs (95% CIs) for heme iron were 1.10 (0.93, 1.30) for colorectal cancer, 1.06 (0.88, 1.29) for colon cancer, and 1.20 (0.83, 1.75) for rectal cancer. These associations were not significantly modified by alcohol consumption, body mass index, physical activity, menopausal status, or postmenopausal hormone use. Total zinc intake, total iron intake, dietary iron intake, and zinc or iron supplement uses were largely not associated with colorectal cancer risk. Our study does not support strong roles of zinc and heme iron intake in colorectal cancer risk; however, a suggestive inverse association of dietary zinc intake with rectal cancer risk in women requires further study.

Keywords

Colorectal cancerZincIronHeme ironCohort study

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011