Article

Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 575-590

Plant foods and colon cancer: an assessment of specific foods and their related nutrients (United States)

  • Martha L. SlatteryAffiliated withthe Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Utah
  • , John D. PotterAffiliated withFred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • , Ashley CoatesAffiliated withDivision of Research, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program
  • , Khe-Ni MaAffiliated withthe Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Utah
  • , T. Dennis BerryAffiliated withthe Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Utah
  • , Debra M. DuncanAffiliated withDivision of Research, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program
  • , Bette J. CaanAffiliated withDivision of Research, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program

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Abstract

Plant foods have been associated inversely with colon cancer. Since amajor focus of this study was to identify components of plant foods whichmay account for their association with colon cancer, nutrients which arecommonly found in plant foods also were evaluated. A population-basedcase-control study was conducted in Northern California, Utah, and the ‘TwinCities’ area of Minnesota (United States). Complete data were available frominterviewer-administered questionnaires on 1,993 cases and 2,410 controls.Higher intakes of vegetables (for highest relative to lowest quintile ofintake) were associated inversely with colon cancer risk: the odds ratio(OR) was 0.7 for both men (95 percent [CI] confidence interval = 0.5-0.9)and women (CI = 0.5-1.0). Associations were stronger among those withproximal tumors. Total fruit intake was not associated with colon cancerrisk although, among men, higher levels of whole grain intake wereassociated with a decreased risk (OR = 0.6, CI = 0.4-0.9 for older men);high intakes of refined grains were associated with an increased risk (OR =1.5, CI = 1.1-2.1). Dietary fiber intake was associated with a decreasedrisk of colon cancer: OR = 0.5 (CI = 0.3-0.9) for older men; OR = 0.7 (CI =0.4-1.2) for older women; OR = 0.6 (CI = 0.4-1.0) for men with proximaltumors; OR = 0.5 (CI = 0.3-0.9) for women with proximal tumors. Othernutrients, for which plant foods were the major contributor - such asvitamin B6, thiamin, and niacin (women only) - also were associatedinversely with colon cancer. Neither beta-carotene nor vitamin C wasprotective for colon cancer. Adjustment of plant foods for nutrients foundin plant foods or for supplement use did not appreciably alter the observedassociations between plant foods and colon cancer.

beta-carotene colon cancer dietary fiber folate fruits thiamin United States vegetables vitamin C vitamin B6 whole grains