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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2003 Dec;12(12):1492-500.

Alcohol consumption, smoking, and subsequent risk of colorectal cancer in middle-aged and elderly Japanese men and women: Japan Public Health Center-based prospective study.

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Epidemiology and Biostatistics Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute East, Chiba, Japan.


Few studies have examined the association of alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking with colorectal cancer in Asian populations whose genetic susceptibility to these factors are different from Western populations. We investigated this association and the joint effect of these factors, and estimated the population-attributable fraction to clarify the public health impact on a Japanese population, based on a prospective study. We analyzed the 10-year (cohort I) and 7-year (cohort II) follow-up data of the Japan Public Health Center-based prospective study on cancer and cardiovascular disease, derived from 90,004 (42,540 male and 47,464 female) middle-aged and elderly Japanese. We identified 716 (457 in men and 259 in women) newly diagnosed cases of colorectal cancer. Both alcohol consumption and smoking were clearly associated with colorectal cancer in men, after adjusting for age, family history of colorectal cancer, body mass index, and physical exercise. Regular heavy drinking of 150 g/week or more of ethanol showed a statistically significant increased risk compared with nondrinkers: relative risks (RRs) were 1.4 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.1-1.9] for 150-299 g/week and 2.1 (95% CI, 1.6-2.7) for 300 g/week or more. On the contrary, regular ethanol consumption was not associated with colorectal cancer (RR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.4-1.1) in women. In terms of smoking, the RRs were 1.4 (95% CI, 1.1-1.8) for current smokers and 1.3 (95% CI, 0.98-1.7) for ex-smokers compared with never-smokers in men. The risk of smoking in women was similar to that in men, although not statistically significant. The colorectal cancer risk with 300 g/week or more of ethanol in current smokers was estimated at 3.0 (95% CI, 1.8-5.1) compared with nondrinkers among nonsmokers in men. Colorectal cancer attributable to alcohol consumption or smoking was estimated to be 46%. In conclusion, approximately half of the colorectal cancer cases may be preventable by tobacco and alcohol controls in middle-aged and elderly Japanese men.

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