Colorectal (bowel) cancer research findings

The research we fund helps us understand the role of diet, nutrition (including body composition) & physical activity on colorectal (bowel) cancer

Below are the results from some of the research we have funded.


The Influence of Vitamin D and Polymorphisms of the Vitamin D Receptor and Calcium Sensing Receptor on Colorectal Cancer Risk Within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)

Prof Elio Riboli, at Imperial College London (England), looked at the preventive potential of vitamin D and calcium on colorectal cancer risk.

The research found that higher blood concentrations of vitamin D are inversely related to the risk of colorectal cancer. This association was found to be more apparent in colon cancer than rectal cancer. No association was observed for dietary vitamin D intake.


Plasma carotenoids, retinol, tocopherols, and vitamin C and risk of colorectal cancer within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)

H. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, at University Medical Centre Utrecht (Netherlands), examined the association between antioxidant levels in blood and colorectal cancer risk.

This research found an association between higher blood levels of vitamin A and a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer, particularly of those cancers originating in the large intestine. Higher levels of vitamin A precursors (α- and β-carotene) were also associated with a lower risk of cancer in the large intestine but, surprisingly, higher levels of α-carotene were associated with an increased risk of cancers originating in the rectum.


Non-invasive biomarkers of DNA damage related to read meat intake and risk of colorectal cancer

Maria Velasco-Garcia, at The Open University in England, investigated the hypothesis that vegetarian diets help reduce cancer risk by reduction of DNA damage levels.

The research established a new analytical method for the measurement of DNA adducts related to high red meat diets. Despite low levels of these DNA adducts have proven to in urine, there is strong evidence that the adducts are indeed formed. Further studies will be required to analyse a larger number of samples.


Body weight and height change, energy restriction in childhood and physical activity as determinants of colorectal cancer: the role of (epi)genetic instability

Matty Weijenberg, at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, looked at the links between body fat, adult attained height, physical activity and energy restriction and the risk of colorectal cancer.

The research results support the growing body of evidence that suggests that a healthy body weight and adequate levels of long-term physical activity protect against colorectal cancer.


Plasma levels of alkylresorcinols and risk of colorectal cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)

Professor Anne Tjønneland, at the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre, investigated the association between wholegrain intake and colorectal cancer risk.

The research found that greater wholegrain intake was associated with lower distal and overall colon cancer incidence.