Calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, dairy products and colorectal carcinogenesis: a French case--control study

Br J Cancer. 1996 Jul;74(1):145-51. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1996.330.


A protective effect of calcium against colorectal cancer has been described in Anglo-Saxon but not in Latin communities, and no such effect has been observed regarding adenomas. We investigated the relationship between calcium, dairy products and the adenoma-carcinoma sequence in a French region by comparing small adenoma ( < 10 mm, n = 154), large adenoma (n = 208) and polyp-free (n = 426) subjects, and cancer cases (n = 171) with population controls (n = 309). There was no protective effect of calcium against colorectal tumours except for low fat calcium and large adenomas in men (OR for highest quintile = 0.3, P for trend = 0.06). There was even a trend towards an increased risk of cancer with dairy calcium in men and non-dairy calcium in women. Vitamin D was inversely related to the risk of small adenomas in women (OR for highest quintile = 0.4, P for trend = 0.04). Regarding dairy products, only consumption of yoghurt displayed an inverse relationship with risk of large adenomas, in both men and women. These data failed to demonstrate a protective effect of calcium against colorectal carcinogenesis. They suggest that the type of dairy product might be the important factor with regard to prevention of colorectal tumours.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / epidemiology
  • Adenoma / prevention & control
  • Aged
  • Calcium, Dietary / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma / prevention & control
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Dairy Products*
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphorus, Dietary / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Phosphorus, Dietary
  • Vitamin D