Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 29, Issue 7, pp 667–674 | Cite as

Associations of dietary fat with risk of early neoplasia in the proximal colon in a population-based case–control study

  • Allen Mo
  • Rong Wu
  • James P. Grady
  • Matthew P. Hanley
  • Margaret Toro
  • Helen Swede
  • Thomas J. Devers
  • Terryl J. Hartman
  • Daniel W. RosenbergEmail author
Original paper



Excess dietary fat consumption is strongly associated with the risk of colorectal cancer, but less is known about its role in the earliest stages of carcinogenesis, particularly within the proximal colon. In the following case–control study, we evaluated the relationship between the intake of dietary fats and the frequency of early proximal neoplasia [aberrant crypt foci (ACF) or polyps], detectable by high-definition colonoscopy with contrast dye-spray.


Average-risk screening individuals underwent a high-definition colonoscopy procedure as part of larger ongoing clinical study of precancerous lesions in the proximal colon. Dietary fat intake was assessed using the Block Brief Food Frequency Questionnaire, which estimates average dietary intake based on 70 food items. The diets of individuals with no endoscopically identifiable lesions (n = 36) were compared to those with either ACF or polyps detected in the proximal colon.


In multivariate analysis, high dietary intake of total polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids were positively associated with neoplastic lesions in the proximal colon. When comparing ACF and polyp groups separately, a positive association was observed for both proximal polyps (OR 2.28; CI 1.16–7.09) and ACF (OR 2.86; CI 1.16–7.09) for total PUFA intake. Furthermore, the prevalence of proximal ACF was increased with higher intake of omega-6 (OR 3.54; CI 1.32–9.47) and omega-3 fatty acids (OR 2.29; CI 1.02–5.13), although there was no discernible difference in the omega-6/omega-3 ratio.


These results suggest that dietary PUFAs may be positively associated with risk of early neoplasia in the proximal colon. This study provides further evidence that dietary PUFA composition may play an important role in altering the microenvironment within the human colon.


Polyunsaturated fatty acids Aberrant crypt foci Colonoscopy Colorectal cancer Colonic preneoplasia Polyps 



This work was supported by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health, Biomedical Research Applications #2012-0913 and #2015-0901 (to D. W. Rosenberg) and NIH 1RO1CA159976 (to D. W. Rosenberg).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allen Mo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rong Wu
    • 3
  • James P. Grady
    • 3
  • Matthew P. Hanley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Margaret Toro
    • 4
  • Helen Swede
    • 5
  • Thomas J. Devers
    • 6
  • Terryl J. Hartman
    • 7
  • Daniel W. Rosenberg
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Center for Molecular MedicineUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterFarmingtonUSA
  2. 2.Colon Cancer Prevention Program, Neag Comprehensive Cancer CenterUConn HealthFarmingtonUSA
  3. 3.Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational ScienceUConn HealthFarmingtonUSA
  4. 4.Clinal Trials OfficeUConn HealthFarmingtonUSA
  5. 5.Community Medicine and Health CareUConn HealthFarmingtonUSA
  6. 6.Division of Gastroenterology, School of MedicineUConn HealthFarmingtonUSA
  7. 7.Rollins School of Public Health, Winship Cancer InstituteEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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