The potential relationship between red meat consumption and colorectal cancer (CRC) has been the subject of scientific debate. Given the high degree of resulting uncertainty, our objective was to update the state of the science by conducting a systematic quantitative assessment of the epidemiologic literature. Specifically, we updated and expanded our previous meta-analysis by integrating data from new prospective cohort studies and conducting a broader evaluation of the relative risk estimates by specific intake categories. Data from 27 independent prospective cohort studies were meta-analyzed using random-effects models, and sources of potential heterogeneity were examined through subgroup and sensitivity analyses. In addition, a comprehensive evaluation of potential dose-response patterns was conducted. In the meta-analysis of all cohorts, a weakly elevated summary relative risk was observed (1.11, 95% CI: 1.03-1.19); however, statistically significant heterogeneity was present. In general, summary associations were attenuated (closer to the null and less heterogeneous) in models that isolated fresh red meat (from processed meat), adjusted for more relevant factors, analyzed women only, and were conducted in countries outside of the United States. Furthermore, no clear patterns of dose-response were apparent. In conclusion, the state of the epidemiologic science on red meat consumption and CRC is best described […]
The relationship between red meat consumption and colorectal cancer (CRC) has been the subject of scientific debate. To estimate the summary association between red meat intake and CRC and to examine sources of heterogeneity, a meta-analysis of prospective studies was conducted. Thirty-four prospective studies of red meat and CRC were identified, of which 25 represented independent nonoverlapping study populations. Summary relative risk estimates (SRREs) for high versus low intake and dose-response relationships were calculated. In the high versus low intake meta-analysis, the SRRE was 1.12 (95% CI: 1.04-1.21) with significant heterogeneity (P=0.014). Summary associations were modified by tumor site and sex. The SRREs for colon cancer and rectal cancer were 1.11 (95% CI: 1.03-1.19) and 1.19 (95% CI: 0.97-1.46), respectively. The SRREs among men and women were 1.21 (95% CI: 1.04-1.42) and 1.01 (95% CI: 0.87-1.17), respectively. The available epidemiologic data are not sufficient to support an independent and unequivocal positive association between red meat intake and CRC. This conclusion is based on summary associations that are weak in magnitude, heterogeneity across studies, inconsistent patterns of associations across the subgroup analyses, and the likely influence of confounding by other dietary and lifestyle factors.
Alexander DD, Weed DL, Cushing CA, Lowe KA. […]