Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between meat and fish consumption and APC mutation status and hMLH1 expression in colon and rectal cancer.
Methods: The associations were investigated in the Netherlands Cohort Study, and included 434 colon and 154 rectal cancer patients on whom case-cohort analyses (subcohort n = 2948) were performed.
Results: Total meat consumption was not associated with the endpoints studied. Meat product (i.e. processed meat) consumption showed a positive association with colon tumours harbouring a truncating APC mutation, whereas beef consumption was associated with an increased risk of colon tumours without a truncating APC mutation (incidence rate ratio (RR) highest versus lowest quartile of intake 1.61, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.96-2.71, p-trend = 0.04 and 1.58, 95% CI 1.10-2.25, p-trend = 0.01, respectively). Consumption of other meat (horsemeat, lamb, mutton, frankfurters and deep-fried meat rolls) was associated with an increased risk of rectal cancer without a truncating APC mutation (RR intake versus no intake 1.79, 95% CI 1.10-2.90). No associations were observed for meat consumption and tumours lacking hMLH1 expression.
Conclusions: Our data indicate that several types of meat may contribute differently to the aetiology of colon and rectal cancer, depending on APC mutation status but not hMLH1 expression of the tumour.