Original Paper| Volume 35, ISSUE 13, P1838-1841, December 1999

Download started.


Allergy and other selected diseases and risk of colorectal cancer


      It has been reported that allergy and other diseases may be related to colorectal cancer risk. The aim of this study was to perform a systematic analysis using information about medical histories specifically to see if there was any relation between allergies or other medical conditions and colorectal cancer risk. A multicentric case–control study was conducted in six Italian areas between 1992 and 1996 on 1225 incident cases of colon cancer, 728 cases of rectal cancer and 4154 controls comparable with cases according to sex and age group, admitted for acute conditions to the same network of hospitals where cases had been identified. Unconditional logistic regression models including terms for sex, age, study centre, years of education, body mass index, physical activity, smoking, history of colorectal cancer in first-degree relatives and energy intake were used to estimate the odds ratios (OR) of colon and rectal cancer according to history of allergy and other selected diseases. The OR for history of allergy was 0.88 (95% confidence interval, CI, 0.67–1.14) for colon and 0.64 (95% CI, 0.44–0.92) for rectal cancer, and the inverse association was stronger when allergy was diagnosed at age 35 years or more, or less than 10 years before the cancer diagnosis. No clear pattern emerged in strata of age and sex. History of other selected diseases, including hypertension and cholelithiasis, was not related to colon or rectal cancer risk, though there was a moderate increase in the risk of colon cancer (OR=1.18, 95% CI, 0.66–2.14) in patients with a history of intestinal polyps. This study lends support to the hypothesis that allergic individuals may be at a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to European Journal of Cancer
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • La Vecchia C.
        • Negri E.
        • Decarli A.
        • Franceschi S.
        Diabetes mellitus and colorectal cancer risk.
        Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 1997; 6: 1007-1010
        • La Vecchia C.
        • D'Avanzo B.
        • Negri E.
        • Franceschi S.
        History of selected diseases and the risk of colorectal cancer.
        Eur. J. Cancer. 1991; 27A: 582-586
        • Potter J.D.
        • Slattery M.L.
        • Bostick R.M.
        • Gapstur S.M.
        Colon cancer.
        Epidemiol. Rev. 1993; 15: 499-545
        • Vobecky J.
        • Caro J.
        • Devroede G.
        A case–control study of risk factors for large bowel carcinoma.
        Cancer. 1983; 51: 1958-1963
        • Kune G.A.
        • Kune S.
        • Watson L.F.
        Colorectal cancer risk, chronic illnesses, operations, and medications.
        Cancer Res. 1988; 48: 4399-4404
        • McWhorter W.P.
        Allergy and risk of cancer. A prospective study using NHANESI followup data.
        Cancer. 1988; 62: 451-455
        • Mills P.K.
        • Beeson W.L.
        • Fraser G.E.
        • Phillips R.L.
        Allergy and cancer.
        Am. J. Epidemiol. 1992; 136: 287-295
        • Franceschi S.
        • La Vecchia C.
        Colorectal cancer and hormone replacement therapy.
        Eur. J. Cancer Prev. 1998; 7: 427-438
      1. Breslow NE, Day NE. Statistical methods in cancer research vol. 1. The analysis of case–control studies. IARC Sci Publ 1980, 32.

        • Hu F.B.
        • Manson J.E.
        • Liu S.
        • et al.
        Prospective study of adult onset diabetes mellitus (type 2) and risk of colorectal cancer in women.
        J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 1999; 91: 542-547
        • Manousos O.
        • Souglakos J.
        • Bosetti C.
        • et al.
        IGF-I and IGF-II in relation to colorectal cancer.
        Int. J. Cancer. 1999; 83: 15-17
        • Levi F.
        • Randimbison L.
        • La Vecchia C.
        Incidence of colorectal cancer following adenomatous polyps of the large intestine.
        Int. J. Cancer. 1993; 55: 415-418
        • Neugut A.I.
        • Jacobson J.S.
        • DeVivo I.
        Epidemiology of colorectal adenomatous polyps.
        Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 1993; 2: 159-176
        • La Vecchia C.
        • Negri E.
        • D'Avanzo B.
        • et al.
        Medical history, diet and pancreatic cancer.
        Oncology. 1990; 47: 463-466
        • Bueno De Mesquita H.B.
        • Maisonneuve P.
        • Moerman C.J.
        • Walker A.M.
        Aspects of medical history and exocrine carcinoma of the pancreas.
        Int. J. Cancer. 1992; 52: 17-23
        • Dai Q.
        • Zheng W.
        • Ji B-T.
        • et al.
        Prior immunity-related medical conditions and pancreatic-cancer risk in Shanghai.
        Int. J. Cancer. 1995; 63: 337-340
        • La Vecchia C.
        • Negri E.
        • D'Avanzo B.
        • Boyle P.
        • Franceschi S.
        Medical history and primary liver cancer.
        Cancer Res. 1990; 50: 6274-6277
        • Vena J.E.
        • Bona J.R.
        • Byers T.E.
        • Middleton Jr E.
        • Swanson M.K.
        • Graham S.
        Allergy-related diseases and cancer.
        Am. J. Epidemiol. 1985; 122: 66-74
        • Negri E.
        • Pagano R.
        • Decarli A.
        • La Vecchia C.
        Body weight and the prevalence of chronic diseases.
        J. Epidemiol. Community Health. 1988; 42: 24-29
        • Pagano R.
        • La Vecchia C.
        Overweight and obesity in Italy, 1990–91.
        Int. J. Obesity. 1994; 18: 665-669
        • Kelly J.P.
        • Rosenberg L.
        • Kaufman D.W.
        • Shapiro S.
        Reliability of personal interview data in a hospital-based case–control study.
        Am. J. Epidemiol. 1990; 131: 79-90