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Nutr Cancer. 1993;19(3):303-6.

Moderate beer consumption and the risk of colorectal cancer.

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Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milano, Italy.


The relationship between beer consumption and the risk of colon and rectal cancer was considered in a case-control study conducted in northern Italy. The study was based on 828 histologically confirmed incident cases of colon cancer, 498 of rectal cancer, and 2,024 controls in hospital for a wide spectrum of acute, nonneoplastic, nonalcohol-related diseases. Beer drinking was reported by 6% of colon cancer cases, 7% of rectal cancer cases, and 10% of controls; regular beer drinkers (> or = 1 drinks/day) made up 2.6% of colon cancer cases, 3.2% of rectal cancer cases, and 4.1% of controls. Thus the multivariate relative risks (RR) for irregular drinkers were 0.6 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.4-1.0] for colon and 0.7 (95% CI 0.4-1.2) for rectum. Corresponding values for regular drinkers were 0.7 (95% CI 0.4-1.2) for colon and 0.9 (95% CI 0.5-1.5) for rectal cancer. Despite the low frequency of beer drinking in this study, and hence its limited statistical power, the originality of the population in terms of colorectal cancer incidence, patterns of risk factor exposure, and the large dataset provide interesting and useful confirmation that moderate beer drinking is not associated with elevated colon or rectal cancer risk.

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