Diet and cancer prevention: the roles of observation and experimentation

Nat Rev Cancer. 2008 Sep;8(9):694-703. doi: 10.1038/nrc2441.


Observational epidemiology and experimentation by randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been used to evaluate dietary factors in cancer prevention; however, consistency in findings has been elusive. In several circles, RCTs are viewed as more credible than observational studies. As the testing of dietary epidemiological findings in RCTs has been more common for colorectal cancer than for other cancers, we use experience with this malignancy to critically appraise the reasons for discrepancies between results of observational and experimental studies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diet therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Empirical Research*
  • Folic Acid / blood
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic* / methods
  • Research Design*


  • Folic Acid