Dietary fat, cholesterol and colorectal cancer in a prospective study

Br J Cancer. 2001 Aug 3;85(3):357-61. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.2001.1906.


The relationships between consumption of total fat, major dietary fatty acids, cholesterol, consumption of meat and eggs, and the incidence of colorectal cancers were studied in a cohort based on the Finnish Mobile Clinic Health Examination Survey. Baseline (1967-1972) information on habitual food consumption over the preceding year was collected from 9959 men and women free of diagnosed cancer. A total of 109 new colorectal cancer cases were ascertained late 1999. High cholesterol intake was associated with increased risk for colorectal cancers. The relative risk between the highest and lowest quartiles of dietary cholesterol was 3.26 (95% confidence interval 1.54-6.88) after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, occupation, smoking, geographic region, energy intake and consumption of vegetables, fruits and cereals. Consumption of total fat and intake of saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fatty acids were not significantly associated with colorectal cancer risk. Nonsignificant associations were found between consumption of meat and eggs and colorectal cancer risk. The results of the present study indicate that high cholesterol intake may increase colorectal cancer risk, but do not suggest the presence of significant effects of dietary fat intake on colorectal cancer incidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholesterol / administration & dosage*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Rectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Dietary Fats
  • Cholesterol