High-fat dairy food and conjugated linoleic acid intakes in relation to colorectal cancer incidence in the Swedish Mammography Cohort

Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Oct;82(4):894-900. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/82.4.894.


Background: High-fat dairy foods contain many potentially anticarcinogenic factors, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). However, few epidemiologic studies have specifically evaluated high-fat dairy food consumption, and none have evaluated CLA intake, in relation to colorectal cancer risk.

Objective: The aim of this study was to prospectively examine the associations of long-term high-fat dairy food consumption and CLA intake and the incidence of colorectal cancer.

Design: Our study population consisted of 60 708 women aged 40-76 y who participated in the Swedish Mammography Cohort. The women's consumption of high-fat dairy foods was assessed at baseline, which was from 1987 to 1990, and again in 1997.

Results: We ascertained 798 incident cases of colorectal cancer during an average 14.8 y of follow-up. After adjustment for age and other potential confounders, the women who consumed > or =4 servings of high-fat dairy foods/d (including whole milk, full-fat cultured milk, cheese, cream, sour cream, and butter) had a multivariate rate ratio of colorectal cancer of 0.59 (95% CI: 0.44, 0.79; P for trend = 0.002) when compared with the women who consumed <1 serving/d. Each increment of 2 servings of high-fat dairy foods/d corresponded to a 13% reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer (multivariate rate ratio: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.78, 0.96). For CLA, the multivariate rate ratio of colorectal cancer in a comparison of the 2 extreme quartiles of intake was 0.71 (95% CI: 0.55, 0.91; P for trend = 0.004).

Conclusion: These prospective data suggest that high intakes of high-fat dairy foods and CLA may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Dairy Products*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Rectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Dietary Fats
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated