Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 611–627 | Cite as

Red and processed meat intake and risk of colorectal adenomas: a systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies

  • Dagfinn Aune
  • Doris S. M. Chan
  • Ana Rita Vieira
  • Deborah A. Navarro Rosenblatt
  • Rui Vieira
  • Darren C. Greenwood
  • Ellen Kampman
  • Teresa Norat
Review article



Current evidence indicates that red and processed meat intake increases the risk of colorectal cancer; however, the association with colorectal adenomas is unclear.


To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies of red and processed meat intake and risk of colorectal adenomas as part of the Continuous Update Project of the World Cancer Research Fund.


PubMed and several other databases were searched for relevant studies from their inception up to 31 December 2011. Summary relative risks (RRs) were estimated using a random effects model.


Nineteen case–control studies and seven prospective studies were included in the analyses. The summary RR per 100 g/day of red meat was 1.27 (95 % CI 1.16–1.40, I2 = 5 %, n = 16) for all studies combined, 1.20 (95 % CI 1.06–1.36, I2 = 0 %, n = 6) for prospective studies, and 1.34 (95 % CI 1.12–1.59, I2 = 31 %, n = 10) for case–control studies. The summary RR per 50 g/day of processed meat intake was 1.29 (95 % CI 1.10–1.53, I2 = 27 %, n = 10) for all studies combined, 1.45 (95 % CI 1.10–1.90, I2 = 0 %, n = 2) for prospective studies, and 1.23 (95 % CI 0.99–1.52, I2 = 37 %, n = 8) for case–control studies. There was evidence of a nonlinear association between red meat (pnonlinearity < 0.001) and processed meat (pnonlinearity = 0.01) intake and colorectal adenoma risk.


These results indicate an elevated risk of colorectal adenomas with intake of red and processed meat, but further prospective studies are warranted.


Red meat Processed meat Diet Colorectal adenomas Polyps Meta-analysis The Continuous Update Project 

Supplementary material

10552_2012_139_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1114 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dagfinn Aune
    • 1
  • Doris S. M. Chan
    • 1
  • Ana Rita Vieira
    • 1
  • Deborah A. Navarro Rosenblatt
    • 1
  • Rui Vieira
    • 1
  • Darren C. Greenwood
    • 2
  • Ellen Kampman
    • 3
  • Teresa Norat
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public HealthImperial College LondonPaddington, LondonUK
  2. 2.Biostatistics Unit, Centre for Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  3. 3.Division of Human NutritionWageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands

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