Dietary patterns and colorectal cancer recurrence and survival: a cohort study

BMJ Open. 2013 Feb 7;3(2):e002270. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002270. Print 2013.


Objective: To examine the association between dietary patterns and colorectal cancer (CRC) survival.

Design: Cohort study.

Setting: A familial CRC registry in Newfoundland.

Participants: 529 newly diagnosed CRC patients from Newfoundland. They were recruited from 1999 to 2003 and followed up until April 2010.

Outcome measure: Participants reported their dietary intake using a food frequency questionnaire. Dietary patterns were identified with factor analysis. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were employed to estimate HR and 95% CI for association of dietary patterns with CRC recurrence and death from all causes, after controlling for covariates.

Results: Disease-free survival (DFS) among CRC patients was significantly worsened among patients with a high processed meat dietary pattern (the highest vs the lowest quartile HR 1.82, 95% CI 1.07 to 3.09). No associations were observed with the prudent vegetable or the high-sugar patterns and DFS. The association between the processed meat pattern and DFS was restricted to patients diagnosed with colon cancer (the highest vs the lowest quartile: HR 2.29, 95% CI 1.19 to 4.40) whereas the relationship between overall survival (OS) and this pattern was observed among patients with colon cancer only (the highest vs the lowest quartile: HR 2.13, 95% CI 1.03 to 4.43). Potential effect modification was noted for sex (p value for interaction 0.04, HR 3.85 for women and 1.22 for men).

Conclusions: The processed meat dietary pattern prior to diagnosis is associated with higher risk of tumour recurrence, metastasis and death among patients with CRC.