A Prospective Analysis of Red and Processed Meat Intake in Relation to Colorectal Cancer in the Black Women's Health Study.J Nutr. 2022 05 05; 152(5):1254-1262.JN
Black Americans have the highest incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) of any racial/ethnic group in the United States. High intake of red and processed meats has been associated with an increased CRC risk in predominately White populations. However, 3 prior studies in Black populations, who have been reported to have high intakes of red and processed meats, have reported no associations. Data on a possible association between CRC risk and SFAs and MUFAs, the primary types of fat in red and processed meats, are inconclusive.
We prospectively assessed intakes of processed and unprocessed red meat, SFAs, and MUFAs in relation to CRC risk, utilizing data from the Black Women's Health Study (BWHS, 1995-2018).
Dietary data were derived from validated FFQs completed in 1995 and 2001. Multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression.
Among 52,695 BWHS participants aged 21-69 y at baseline and followed for ≤22 y, 564 women developed incident CRC. Unprocessed red meat intake was associated with a 33% increased CRC risk per 100 g/d (HR: 1.33; 95% CI: 1.03-1.71). Examination of CRC anatomic sites revealed that unprocessed red meat was associated with 2-times increased rectal cancer risk (HR: 2.22; 95% CI: 1.15-4.26). There was no evidence of an interaction with age (pinteraction = 0.4), but unprocessed red meat intake was only associated with a significant increased risk of late-onset CRC (≥50 y of age, HR: 1.41; 95% CI: 1.05-1.88). Processed red meat and total SFA and MUFA intakes were not associated with CRC risk.
Unprocessed red meat intake was associated with an increased CRC risk in the present study, the first positive evidence that red meat plays a role in the etiology of CRC in Black women. The findings suggest prevention opportunities.