Vegetable and fruit consumption and risks of colon and rectal cancer in a prospective cohort study: The Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer

Am J Epidemiol. 2000 Dec 1;152(11):1081-92. doi: 10.1093/aje/152.11.1081.


The relation between vegetable and fruit consumption and colorectal cancer risk was comprehensively assessed in the Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer using a validated 150-item food frequency questionnaire. After 6.3 years of follow-up (1986-1992), over 1,000 incident cases of colorectal cancer were registered. Using case-cohort analysis, the authors calculated rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals adjusted for age, alcohol intake, and family history of colorectal cancer. For colon cancer, no statistically significant associations with total vegetable intake or total fruit intake were found. However, among women, an inverse association was observed with vegetables and fruits combined (for the highest quintile vs. the lowest, the rate ratio was 0.66 (95% confidence interval: 0.44, 1.01)). Brassica vegetables and cooked leafy vegetables showed inverse associations for both men and women. Among women and, to a lesser extent, among men, inverse associations were stronger for distal colonic tumors than for proximal colonic tumors. For rectal cancer, no statistically significant associations were found for vegetable consumption or fruit consumption or for specific groups of vegetables and fruits; only Brassica vegetables showed a positive association in women. As in other cohort studies, the observed inverse relation between vegetable and fruit consumption and occurrence of colorectal cancer was less strong than relations reported in case-control studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Vegetables*