Pickled meat consumption and colorectal cancer (CRC): a case-control study in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Cancer Causes Control. 2010 Sep;21(9):1513-21. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9580-z. Epub 2010 May 27.


Objective: Although a large body of epidemiological research suggests that red meat intake increases the risk of colorectal cancer, little is known regarding how such an association varies across populations and types of red meat. The objective of this study was to assess whether an association exists between the intakes of total red meat and pickled red meat and the risk of colorectal cancer in study subjects residing in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Methods: This case-control study of 1,204 residents of Newfoundland and Labrador was part of a larger study on colorectal cancer. Personal history food frequency questionnaires were used to collect retrospective data from 518 individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 686 controls. Intakes were ranked and divided into tertiles. Logistic regression was used to examine the possible association between meat intakes and colorectal cancer diagnosis while controlling for possible confounding factors.

Results: A positive, but non-statistically significant, association between total red meat intake and CRC was observed in this study. Pickled red meat consumption was found to be significantly associated with an increased risk of CRC (men, OR = 2.07, 95% CI 1.37-3.15; women, OR = 2.51, 95% CI 1.45-4.32), the odds ratios increasing with each tertile of consumption, suggesting a dose-response effect.

Conclusion: Intake of pickled red meat appears to increase the risk of colorectal cancer in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat Products / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult