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 […]
Objectives Concern has been raised that the occurrence of cancer may be increased in neighbourhoods around a former manufactured gas plant in Champaign, Illinois, USA. Thus, we compared historical rates of cancer in this area to comparison communities as well as with nationally standardised rates.
Design Retrospective population-based community cancer assessment during 1990–2010.
Setting Champaign County, Illinois, USA, and zip codes encompassing the location of the former manufactured gas plant to counties that were similar demographically.
Participants Residents of the counties and zip codes studied between 1990 and 2010.
Main outcome measures The relative risk (RR) and 95% CI were used to compare cancer incidence and mortality in the areas near the gas compression site to the comparison counties. Standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated to compare rates in the areas near the gas compression site to expected rates based on overall US cancer rates.
Results Total cancer mortality (RR=0.91, 95% CI 0.88 to 0.94) and incidence (RR=0.95, 95% CI 0.94 to 0.97) were reduced significantly in Champaign County versus the comparison counties. Similarly, a reduced rate of total cancer was observed in analyses by zip code (proximal to the former gas plant) when compared with either similar counties […]
Interpreting epidemiologic studies of diet and health is often complex because it involves many methodological issues and sources of uncertainty. Pertinent examples are false-positive and false-negative results, that is, findings that erroneously indicate the presence or absence, respectively, of association. Our objective in this commentary is to help nutrition and other health professionals interpret epidemiological studies when faced with this task. Our aim is not to provide an exhaustive discussion of all the methodological nuances of nutritional epidemiology; rather, we focus on some of the salient factors when interpreting findings from dietary studies, and the role that uncertainty (namely, from false-positives) plays, using relevant examples from the past few decades.
Nutrition Today: May/June 2014 – Volume 49 – Issue 3 – p 147-152
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. […]