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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."


"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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