A case comparison study of dietary factors and risk of colorectal polyps

Maria Elena Martinez, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Little is known about the etiology of colorectal adenomatous polyps, although they are generally considered to be precursor lesions to colorectal carcinoma. To investigate the associations of colorectal adenomatous polyps with dietary intake of calcium, total fat and fiber, a case comparison study was conducted among 98 persons who had first occurrences of adenomatous polyps and 408 persons who did not have colorectal polyps.^ The study population comprised Black, White and Hispanic males and females ages 35 to 80 inclusive, who underwent a sigmoidoscopy or total colonoscopy at collaborating clinics in the Texas Medical Center at Houston between September 1991 and November 1992, and met the eligibility criteria. Case participants were those who had a first-time diagnosis of adenomatous polyps. Comparison participants were individuals who underwent the same diagnostic procedure as the cases and met the same eligibility criteria but had no colorectal polyps. A food frequency questionnaire was administered by interview to obtain information about diet during the 28 days preceding the interview.^ Dietary intake of total fiber was inversely associated with risk of adenomatous polyps. An increment of 15 gm/day in energy-adjusted intake of fiber was associated with a relative odds of 0.39 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.20 to 0.79, after adjustment for age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, cigarette smoking, family history of colorectal cancer and intake of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. No association between dietary intake of total fat and risk of adenomatous polyps was observed. When total fat was analyzed as percent of energy, an increment of 15.3% in intake was associated with a relative odds of 0.98 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.53 to 1.80. However, few persons in the study group had intakes below 25% of energy from total fat. An inverse association was observed between energy-adjusted intake of dietary calcium and risk of adenomatous polyps, but this was not statistically significant; an increment of 638 mg/day was associated with a relative odds of 0.77 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.41 to 1.38. Intake of calcium did not appear to strongly modify the association between intake of fat and risk of adenomatous polyps, perhaps because the study group included few people with calcium intake below 400 mg/day.^ These results support the idea that dietary fiber decreases risk of adenomatous polyps. Further studies are needed on the association of dietary calcium and fat with risk of colorectal adenomatous polyps in populations where individuals vary widely in intake of these nutrients. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Nutrition

Recommended Citation

Martinez, Maria Elena, "A case comparison study of dietary factors and risk of colorectal polyps" (1993). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9422046.