Alcohol, methylxanthine-containing beverages, and colorectal cancer in Córdoba, Argentina

Eur J Cancer Prev. 1998 Jun;7(3):207-13. doi: 10.1097/00008469-199806000-00005.


The relationship between social class indicators, body mass index (BMI), selected life-style habits (alcohol, coffee, maté and tea drinking) and colorectal cancer was investigated in a case-control study conducted between 1993 and 1997 in Córdoba, Argentina, a relatively high mortality area of colorectal cancer. Cases were 190 patients below age 80 years with incident, histologically confirmed colorectal adenocarcinomas, and controls were 393 patients admitted to hospital for a wide spectrum of acute, non-neoplastic disorders. Higher social class, based on occupation of the head of the household, was significantly associated with colorectal cancer risk: the odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were 1.9 (1.2-2.9) for intermediate and 2.0 (1.2-3.4) for the highest as compared to the lowest social class individuals. When compared with subjects whose BMI was < 25 kg/m2, the OR was 1.1 (0.7-1.6) for those with BMI 25 to 29 kg/m2, and 1.3 (0.7-2.3) for those > or = 30. In comparison with alcohol abstainers, the OR was 2.8 (1.6-5.1) for drinkers, and there was a significant trend in risk with dose. The association was observed with wine (the most common alcoholic beverage in Argentina), as well as for beer and spirits. The consumption of coffee, maté and tea was not significantly related to colorectal cancer, but the ORs were below unity (0.9 (0.7-1.3) for coffee, 0.9 (0.6-1.2) for maté and 0.8 (0.6-1.2) for tea drinkers). The relationship between social class, alcohol drinking and colorectal cancer were consistent across strata of sex and age. This study confirms that colorectal cancer has positive social class correlates. The association with alcohol drinking is apparently stronger than previously reported, and may be due to the role of chance and/or peculiar correlates of alcohol drinking in this Argentinean population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Argentina / epidemiology
  • Beverages*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Coffee
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class
  • Tea
  • Xanthines


  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Xanthines
  • methylxanthine