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Cancer Causes Control. 2005 Apr;16(3):225-33.

Dietary intakes of fruit, vegetables, and fiber, and risk of colorectal cancer in a prospective cohort of women (United States).

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Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



Although animal studies suggest an inverse association between consumption of plant foods and risk of colorectal cancer, many observational data have failed to support such an association. We prospectively examined the association between dietary intakes of fruit, vegetables, and fiber and colorectal cancer risk in a large female cohort from the Women's Health Study.


Among 39,876 healthy women aged >/=45 years at baseline, 36,976 with baseline self-reported information on dietary intakes and other risk factors for colorectal cancer were included in the analyses. During an average follow-up of 10 years, 223 women were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Intakes of fruit, vegetables, and fiber were assessed by a baseline food-frequency questionnaire. The analyses were carried out using the Cox proportional hazards regression and all tests were two-sided.


Intakes of fruit, vegetables, and the specific subgroups were not found to be associated with colorectal cancer risk. Multivariate relative risks (RRs) comparing the highest with lowest quintile were 0.79 (95% CI=0.49-1.27,p for trend =0.30) for fruit intake, and 0.88 (95% CI=0.56-1.38,p for trend=0.30) for vegetables intake. Similarly, intake of total fiber was not associated with colorectal cancer risk; the RR for the highest relative to lowest quintile was 0.75 (95% CI=0.48-1.17,p for trend=0.12). However, higher intake of legume fiber was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer; the RR for the highest versus slowest quintile was 0.60 (95% CI=0.40-0.91,p for trend=0.02).


Our data offer little support for associations between intakes of fruit, vegetables, and fiber, and colorectal cancer risk. However, our data suggest that legume fiber and/or other related sources may reduce risk of colorectal cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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