The authors hypothesized that reproductive factors of colorectal cancer, which are probably mediated by endogenous hormones, would differ according to colonic subsite. Information on reproductive factors was obtained from 372 female colorectal cancer cases (113 proximal colon, 126 distal colon, 133 rectum) and 31,061 cancer-free controls at the Aichi Cancer Center Hospital, Japan, between 1988 and 1995. Multiple logistic analysis showed that late age at interview, family history of colorectal cancer among first-degree relatives, menstrual regularity, late age at menopause, late age at first pregnancy and late age at first full-term pregnancy were significantly associated with the risk of colorectal cancer. None of the risk factors were significantly dissociated between colon and rectal cancer. In polytomous logistic regression analysis, particularly noteworthy was the fact that the odds ratios for age at menarche (P-value for heterogeneity of odds ratios = 0.010), age at first pregnancy (P = 0.016) and age at first full-term pregnancy (P = 0.028) were significantly higher for distal than for proximal colon cancer. This study supports the hypotheses that there might be an association between reproductive factors and risk of colon cancer, and that the carcinogenesis of colon cancer, by subsite, might show aetiologic distinctions.