Dairy product consumption and risk of colorectal cancer in an older mediterranean population at high cardiovascular risk

Int J Cancer. 2018 Sep 15;143(6):1356-1366. doi: 10.1002/ijc.31540. Epub 2018 May 4.


Prospective studies have reported an inverse association between the consumption of total dairy products and milk and the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). Nonetheless, there is little and inconsistent evidence regarding subtypes of dairy product and CRC risk. We assessed the associations between the consumption of total dairy products, their different subtypes and CRC risk in older Mediterranean individuals at high cardiovascular risk. We analyzed data from 7,216 men and women (55-80 years) without CRC at baseline from the PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea study. Individuals were recruited between 2003 and 2009 and followed up until December 2012. At baseline and yearly thereafter, consumption of total and specific dairy products was assessed using a validated 137-item food-frequency questionnaire. Cox proportional hazards ratios (HRs) of CRC incidence were estimated for tertiles of mean consumption of dairy products during the follow-up. During a median [interquartile range] follow-up of 6.0 [4.4-7.3] years, we documented 101 incident CRC cases. In the multivariable-adjusted models, HRs and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of CRC for the comparison of extreme tertiles of total dairy product and low-fat milk consumption were 0.55 (95% CI: 0.31-0.99; p-trend = 0.037) and 0.54 (95% CI: 0.32-0.92; p-trend = 0.022), respectively. No significant associations with other dairy products (whole-fat and low-fat dairy products; total, low-fat and whole-fat yogurt; cheese; total, low-fat and whole-fat milk; concentrated full-fat dairy products, sugar-enriched dairy products and fermented dairy products) were found. A high consumption of total dairy products and low-fat milk was significantly associated with a reduced CRC risk.

Keywords: PREDIMED study; colorectal cancer; dairy products; mediterranean diet; milk.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Dairy Products / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mediterranean Region / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors