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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006 Jun;15(6):1120-5.

Meat mutagens and risk of distal colon adenoma in a cohort of U.S. men.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Building 2, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Cooking meats at high temperatures and for long duration produces heterocyclic amines and other mutagens. These meat-derived mutagenic compounds have been hypothesized to increase risk of colorectal neoplasia, but prospective data are unavailable. We examined the association between intakes of the heterocyclic amines 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5,-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx), 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), 2-amino-3,4,8-trimethylimidazo[4,5,-f]quinoxaline (DiMeIQx), and meat-derived mutagenicity (MDM) and risk of distal colon adenoma using a cooking method questionnaire administered in 1996 in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study cohort. Between 1996 and 2002, 581 distal colon adenoma cases were identified. Higher intake of MDM was marginally associated with increased risk of distal adenoma [fourth versus lowest quintile: odds ratio (OR), 1.39; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.05-1.84; highest versus lowest quintile: OR, 1.29; 95% CI, 0.97-1.72; P(trend) = 0.08]. Adjusting for total red meat or processed meat intake did not explain those associations. Our data also suggested a positive association between higher MeIQx (highest versus lowest quintile: OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 0.95-1.71; P(trend) = 0.22) and risk of adenoma, but this association was attenuated after adjusting for processed meat intake. DiMeIQx and PhIP did not seem to be associated with risk of adenoma. In conclusion, higher consumption of mutagens from meats cooked at higher temperature and longer duration may be associated with higher risk of distal colon adenoma independent of overall meat intake. Because mutagens other than heterocyclic amines also contribute to MDM, our results suggest that mutagens other than heterocyclic amines in cooked meats may also play a role in increasing the risk of distal adenoma.

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