Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 21, Issue 8, pp 1171–1181 | Cite as

Antioxidant and DNA methylation-related nutrients and risk of distal colorectal cancer

  • Christina Dawn Williams
  • Jessie A. Satia
  • Linda S. Adair
  • June Stevens
  • Joseph Galanko
  • Temitope O. Keku
  • Robert S. Sandler
Original paper



To investigate the relationship between antioxidant nutrients (vitamins C and E, β-carotene, selenium) and DNA methylation-related nutrients (folate, vitamins B6 and B12) and distal colorectal cancer risk in whites and African Americans and to examine intakes from food only versus total (food plus dietary supplements) intakes.


Data are from the North Carolina Colon Cancer Study-Phase II, a case–control study of 945 distal colorectal cancer (including sigmoid, rectosigmoid, and rectum) cases and 959 controls. In-person interviews captured usual dietary intake and various covariates. Multivariate logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).


High intakes of each antioxidant and DNA methylation-related nutrient were significantly associated with lower risk in whites. In African Americans, the highest category of selenium from food only had a marginally significant inverse association with distal colorectal cancer risk (Q4 vs. Q1 OR: 0.55, 95% CI 0.29–1.02). Supplements did not provide additional risk reduction beyond intakes from food.


Our findings provide evidence that antioxidant and DNA methylation-related nutrients may lower the risk of distal colorectal cancer in whites, and selenium may lower risk in African Americans. Optimal micronutrient intakes from food alone may be more beneficial than supplementation.


Micronutrients Colorectal cancer Race Dietary supplements Disparities 


Financial support

This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health P30 DK34987, R01 CA66635, T32 DK07634, and P30 DK56350.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Dawn Williams
    • 1
  • Jessie A. Satia
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Linda S. Adair
    • 1
  • June Stevens
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joseph Galanko
    • 3
  • Temitope O. Keku
    • 3
  • Robert S. Sandler
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease, Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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