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J Epidemiol. 2003 Nov;13(6):323-32.

Smoking and colorectal cancer in a non-Western population: a prospective cohort study in Japan.

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Division of Epidemiology and Prevention, Aichi Cancer Center Research Institute, Nagoya 464-8681, Japan.



The risk of colorectal cancer in relation to smoking habits has been examined mostly in Caucasians, and evidence for other ethnic groups is still scarce.


Our data came from the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study. From 1988 through 1990, 25,260 men and 34,619 women aged 40-79 years completed a questionnaire on cigarette smoking and other lifestyle factors. Hazard ratios (HR) were estimated by fitting proportional hazards models.


During the mean follow-up of 7.6 years through December 1997, we documented 408 incident colon cancers and 204 rectal cancers. We found a non-significant increase in colon cancer risk in male current smokers compared with never smokers. The multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios were 1.07 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.72-1.59) for ex-smokers and 1.23 (95% CI: 0.85-1.78) for current smokers. We however failed to observe a clear dose-response relationship between smoking intensity or duration and colon cancer risk. The adjusted hazard ratio was 1.07 (95% CI: 0.71-1.61) even for 40+ years of smoking. Almost no increase in colon cancer risk was detected for female smokers, and male smokers were not at an enhanced risk of rectal cancer.


Cigarette smoking was not a strong risk factor for colorectal cancer even after a long-term exposure, although a weak association remains open to discussion.

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