Colorectal Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

High Folate Intake and Colorectal Cancer Risk

By: Joseph Fanelli
Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Findings presented as part of the 2020 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Virtual Annual Meeting (Abstract 1104) suggest there is “no evidence” that high folate intake—in the postfortification era since 1998—is linked to a greater risk of colorectal cancer. Rather, concluded Walter Willett, MD, of the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University, Boston, and colleagues, high consumption of folate was inversely associated with colorectal cancer risk.

The authors investigated the association of folate intake and colorectal cancer in 83,165 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, including 18-years of postfortification follow-up. From 1980 to 2016, there were 2,268 incidents of colorectal cancer among this cohort. Folate intake was assessed at baseline and updated every 4 years using a validated food-frequency questionnaire.

The authors found that higher total folate intake was associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer (hazard ratio = 0.80). In addition, the association was stronger when assessed 12 to 24 years before a diagnosis of colorectal cancer.

Additionally, using multivitamins for more than 15 years was linked with a lower risk for colorectal cancer. In the postfortification period from 1998 to 2016, high folate intake and multivitamin use were both associated with a lower risk for colorectal cancer.

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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