European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 619–628 | Cite as

Higher intake of carotenoid is associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer in Chinese adults: a case–control study

  • Min-Shan Lu
  • Yu-Jing Fang
  • Yu-Ming Chen
  • Wei-Ping Luo
  • Zhi-Zhong Pan
  • Xiao Zhong
  • Cai-Xia ZhangEmail author
Original Contribution



The associations between specific carotenoid intake and colorectal cancer risk remain inconsistent. The aim of this study was to examine the association between specific dietary carotenoid intake with colorectal cancer risk in Chinese adults.


From July 2010 to October 2013, 845 eligible colorectal cancer cases and 845 frequency-matched controls (age and sex) completed in-person interviews. A validated food frequency questionnaire was used to estimate dietary intake. Multivariate logistical regression models were used to calculate the odds ratio (OR) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CIs) of colorectal cancer risk after adjusting for various confounders.


A strong inverse association was found between β-cryptoxanthin intake and colorectal cancer risk. Compared with the lowest quartile, the highest quartile intake showed a risk reduction of 77 % (OR 0.23, 95 % CI 0.17–0.33, P trend < 0.01) after adjustment for various confounding variables. The inverse associations were also observed for α-carotene (OR 0.50, 95 % CI 0.37–0.68, P trend < 0.01), β-carotene (OR 0.67, 95 % CI 0.49–0.91, P trend < 0.01), and lycopene (OR 0.51, 95 % CI 0.37–0.70, P trend < 0.01). There was no statistically significant association between lutein/zeaxanthin intake and colorectal cancer risk. These findings were consistent across cancer site, sources of controls, and smoking status. The inverse associations between dietary α-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, and lycopene intake and colorectal cancer risk were found in both males and females, while inverse associations between β-carotene intake and colorectal cancer risk were only observed in males.


Consumption of α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, and lycopene was inversely associated with colorectal cancer risk. No significant association was found between lutein/zeaxanthin intake and colorectal cancer risk.


Carotenoid Colorectal cancer Case–control study China 



This study was jointly supported by the Sun Yat-sen University Hundred Talents Program (51000-3181301) and Danone Nutrition Research and Education Foundation (No: DIC2011-03). The funders had no role in the design, analysis, or writing of this article. We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the study participants; without them the study would not have been possible.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Min-Shan Lu
    • 1
  • Yu-Jing Fang
    • 2
  • Yu-Ming Chen
    • 1
  • Wei-Ping Luo
    • 1
  • Zhi-Zhong Pan
    • 2
  • Xiao Zhong
    • 1
  • Cai-Xia Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, School of Public HealthSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Colorectal Surgery, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South ChinaSun Yat-sen University Cancer CenterGuangzhouChina

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