Aim: To examine whether peanut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer in a prospective cohort with a 10-year follow-up.
Methods: In 1990-1992, residents (12026 men and 11917 women aged 30 to 65 years) in 7 townships, Taiwan, were interviewed and recruited into a cancer-screening cohort and annually followed up. Colorectal cancer cases in this cohort were identified from cancer registry and death certificates. Incidence rates of this disease by the end of 2001 were calculated by gender for the primary study variable and covariates. The dietary intake was assessed by means of weekly food frequency measures, including frequently consumed food groups and folk dishes including sweet potato, bean products, peanut products, pickled foodstuffs, nitrated or smoked foodstuffs.
Results: During the study period, 107 new colorectal cancer cases (68 men and 39 women) were confirmed. The multivariate Cox's proportional hazard model showed that the relative risk (RR) of peanut consumption was 0.73 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.44-1.21] for men and 0.42 (95% CI = 0.21-0.84) for women. However, frequent intake of pickled foodstuffs was harmful for women (RR = 2.15, 95% CI = 0.99-4.65). The risk of colorectal cancer was also elevated among cigarette smokers but not significant (P<0.05).
Conclusion: This study suggests that frequent intake of peanut and its products may reduce colorectal cancer risk in women, demonstrating the anti-proliferating effect of peanut intake.