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Calcium, dairy and colon cancer - the latest

In a nutshell

There is very strong in vitro and observational data showing a protective association between dairy and calcium intake and colorectal cancer. Vitamin D status and possibly genetics also seem to influence this link.

A few RCTs suggest calcium + vit. D supplements help prevent intestinal polyp recurrence. We lack RCT evidence that this in turn stops colon cancer, and if so it is more likely to work in at-risk rather than general populations.

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References

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1. Flood, A. et al. Calcium from diet and supplements is associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer in a prospective cohort of women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Jan;14(1):126–32.
2. Peters, U. et al. Calcium intake and colorectal adenoma in a US colorectal cancer early detection program. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Nov;80(5):1358–65.
3. Cho, E. et al. Dairy foods, calcium, and colorectal cancer: a pooled analysis of 10 cohort studies. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004 Jul 7;96(13):1015–22.
4. Kesse, E. et al. Dietary calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, dairy products and the risk of colorectal adenoma and cancer among French women of the E3N-EPIC prospective study. Int J Cancer. 2005 Oct 20;117(1):137–44.
5. Chia, V. et al. Calcium and colorectal cancer: some questions remain. Nutr Rev. 2004 Mar;62(3):115–20.
6. Bergsma-Kadijk, JA. et al. Calcium does not protect against colorectal neoplasia. Epidemiology. 1996 Nov;7(6):590–7.
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8. Shin, A. et al. Dietary intake of calcium, fiber and other micronutrients in relation to colorectal cancer risk: Results from the Shanghai Women's Health Study. Int J Cancer. 2006 Dec 15;119(12):2938–42.
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10. Kirchhoff, P. et al. Role of calcium and other trace elements in the gastrointestinal physiology. World J Gastroenterol. 2006 May 28;12(20):3229–36.
11. Harris, DM. et al. Vitamin D and colon carcinogenesis. J Nutr. 2004 Dec;134(12 Suppl):3463S3471S
12. Lee, KW. et al. Role of the conjugated linoleic acid in the prevention of cancer. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2005;45(2):135–44.
13. Alberts, DS. et al. Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study of effect of wheat bran fiber and calcium on fecal bile acids in patients with resected adenomatous colon polyps. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1996 Jan 17;88(2):8192.
14. Peters, U. et al. Association of genetic variants in the calcium-sensing receptor with risk of colorectal adenoma. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004 Dec;13(12):2181–6.
15. Gross, MD. Vitamin D and calcium in the prevention of prostate and colon cancer: new approaches for the identification of needs. J Nutr. 2005 Feb;135(2):326–31.
16. Sandler, RS. Calcium supplements to prevent colorectal adenomas. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Feb;100(2):395–6.
17. Shaukat, A. et al. Role of supplemental calcium in the recurrence of colorectal adenomas: a metaanalysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Feb;100(2):390–4.
18. Weingarten, MA. et al. Dietary calcium supplementation for preventing colorectal cancer and adenomatous polyps. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Jul 20;(3):CD003548.
19. Holt, PR. et al. Calcium plus vitamin D alters preneoplastic features of colorectal adenomas and rectal mucosa. Cancer. 2006 Jan 15;106(2):287–96.
20. Slattery, ML. et al. Dietary calcium, vitamin D, VDR genotypes and colorectal cancer. Int J Cancer. 2004 Sep 20;111(5):750–6.
21. Grau, MV. et al. Vitamin D, calcium supplementation, and colorectal adenomas: results of a randomized trial. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003 Dec 3;95(23):1765–71.

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