Red and processed meat intake and risk of colorectal adenomas: A meta-analysis of observational studies

International Journal of Cancer, 05/04/2012

Xu X et al. – The summary RRs of CRA was 1.28 (95% CI: 1.03–1.60) for per 50 g/day increase in processed meat intake, and 1.17(95% CI: 1.08-1.26) for the highest vs the lowest level of processed meat intake.


  • Inconsistent results regarding the association between red and processed meat intake and the risk of colorectal adenoma (CRA), the precursor of colorectal cancer (CRC), have been reported. To provide a quantitative assessment of this association, we summarized the evidence from observational studies.
  • Relevant studies were identified in MEDLINE and EMBASE until December 31, 2011.
  • Summary relative risks (SRRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were pooled with a random-effects model.
  • A total of 21 studies (16 case-control studies and 5 cohort/nested case control studies) were included in this meta-analysis.


  • The SRRs of CRA were 1.36 (95% CI: 1.17–1.58) for every 100 g/day increase in red meat intake, and 1.24 (95% CI: 1.12-1.36) for the highest vs the lowest level of red meat intake.
  • Non-linear dose-response meta-analysis indicated that CRA risk increased approximately linearly with increasing intake of red meat up to approximately 90 g/day, where the curve reached its plateau.
  • Sub-grouped analyses revealed that the increased risk of CRA with intake of red meat was independent of geographic locations, design and confounders.

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