A meta-analysis between dietary carbohydrate intake and colorectal cancer risk: evidence from 17 observational studies

Biosci Rep. 2017 Apr 10;37(2):BSR20160553. doi: 10.1042/BSR20160553. Print 2017 Apr 28.


The association between dietary carbohydrate intake and colorectal cancer (CRC) risk remains controversial. We therefore conducted this meta-analysis to assess the relationship between them. A literature search from the databases of PubMed, Embase, Web of Science and Medline was performed for available articles published in English (up to September 2016). Pooled relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated to evaluate the association between dietary carbohydrate intake and CRC risk. The random-effect model (REM) was selected as the pooling method. Publication bias was estimated using Egger's regression asymmetry test and funnel plot. A total of 17 articles involving 14402 CRC patients and 846004 participants were eligible with the inclusion criteria in this meta-analysis. The pooled RR with 95% CI of dietary carbohydrate intake for CRC, colon cancer and rectum cancer risk were 1.08 (95% CI =0.93-1.23, I2 =68.3%, Pheterogeneity<0.001), 1.09 (95% CI =0.95-1.25, I2 =48.3%) and 1.17 (95% CI =0.98-1.39, I2 =17.8%) respectively. When we conducted the subgroup analysis by gender, the significant association was found in men's populations (summary RR =1.23, 95% CI =1.01-1.57), but not in the women's populations. In the further subgroup analyses for study design and geographic locations, we did not find any association between dietary carbohydrate intake and CRC risk in the subgroup results respectively. No significant publication bias was found either by the Egger's regression asymmetry test or by the funnel plot. This meta-analysis suggested that higher dietary carbohydrate intake may be an increased factor for CRC risk in men populations. Further studies are wanted to confirm this relationship.

Keywords: Colon cancer; Colorectal cancer; Dietary carbohydrate intake; Meta-analysis; Recrum cancer.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors


  • Dietary Carbohydrates