Dietary fatty acids and colorectal cancer: a case-control study

Am J Epidemiol. 2007 Jul 15;166(2):181-95. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwm063. Epub 2007 May 9.


Fatty acid effects on colorectal cancer risk were examined in a national prospective case-control study in Scotland (1999-2006), including 1,455 incident cases and 1,455 matched controls. Three conditional logistic regression models adjusted for energy (residual method) and for other risk factors were applied in the whole sample and were stratified by sex, cancer site, age, and tumor staging. Total and trans-monounsaturated fatty acids and palmitic, stearic, and oleic acids were dose-dependently associated with colorectal cancer risk, but these effects did not persist after further energy adjustment. Significant dose-dependent reductions in risk were associated with increased consumption of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (highest vs. lowest quartile of intake: odds ratio = 0.63, 95% confidence interval: 0.50, 0.80; p < 0.0005 for trend) and of eicosapentaenoic (odds ratio = 0.59, 95% confidence interval: 0.47, 0.75; p < 0.0005 for trend) and docosahexaenoic (odds ratio = 0.63, 95% confidence interval: 0.50, 0.80; p < 0.0005 for trend) acids. These associations persisted after including energy with the nutrient-energy-adjusted term or total fatty acid intake (energy adjusted). The observed different effects of different types of fatty acids underline the importance of type of fat in the etiology and prevention of colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / classification
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Scotland


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated