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Folate Intake Inversely Associated with Risk of Colorectal Cancer

In a prospective study involving data collected from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (which included 2,299 incident colorectal cancers and 5.655 colorectal adenomas, from 1980 to 2004), total folate intake 12-16 years prior to diagnosis was found to be associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer (RR=0.69), while more recent folate intake was not found to be associated, and both long-term and short-term intakes of total folate were associated with a lower risk of colorectal adenoma, particularly 4-8 years before diagnosis (OR=0.68). In addition, supplementation with multivitamins for over 15 years was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, and supplementation for a shorter duration was associated with a reduction in risk of colorectal adenoma. The authors conclude, "Folate intake is inversely associated with risk of colorectal cancer only during early preadenoma stages."

Reference:

"Folate intake and risk of colorectal cancer and adenoma: modification by time," Lee JE, Willett WC, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2011 April; 93(4): 817-25. (Address: Department of Food and Nutrition, Sookmyung Women's University, Seoul, Republic of Korea and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA).

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