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Nutr Cancer. 2017 Jul;69(5):732-738. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2017.1310259. Epub 2017 Apr 20.

Processed Meat and Colorectal Cancer Risk: A Pooled Analysis of Three Italian Case-Control Studies.

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a Branch of Medical Statistics, Biometry and Epidemiology "G.A. Maccacaro", Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health , University of Milan , Milan , Italy.
b Milan , Italy.
c Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences , University of Milan , Milan , Italy.
d Cancer Epidemiology Unit , CRO Aviano National Cancer Institute IRCCS , Aviano , Italy.
e Unit of Epidemiology , National Cancer Institute, G. Pascale Foundation , Naples , Italy.
f Unit of Medical Statistics, Biometry and Bioinformatics , National Cancer Institute, IRCCS Foundation , Milan , Italy.


To add evidence to the limited data available from southern Europe, we assessed the association between processed meat consumption and colorectal cancer risk. We analyzed data from three case-control studies conducted between 1985 and 2010 in various Italian areas, including a total of 3745 incident cases and 6804 hospital-based controls. We calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) by unconditional multiple logistic regression models. The median consumption of processed meat was around 20 g/day both in cases and controls. The OR of colorectal cancer was 1.02 (95% CI 0.99-1.04) for an increase of 10 g/day of processed meat. The association was statistically significant for colon cancer (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.00-1.06), particularly for proximal colon cancer (OR 1.09, 95% CI 1.04-1.14), while there was no relation with rectal cancer (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.95-1.03). The OR of proximal colon cancer was 1.38 (95% CI 1.08-1.75) for the highest sex-specific tertile of consumption (>25 g/day for men, >21.5 for women) compared with the lowest (<15 g/day), whereas no significant ORs were found for other anatomical subsites. Our findings indicate that there is no association with colorectal cancer overall, in the presence, however, of a positive association with proximal colon cancer.

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