Diet Quality and Colorectal Cancer Risk in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study

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Abstract

Diet quality index scores on Healthy Eating Index 2010 (HEI-2010), Alternative HEI-2010, alternative Mediterranean Diet Index, and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) index have been inversely associated with all-cause and cancer-specific death. This study assessed the association between these scores and colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence as well as CRC-specific mortality in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study (1993–2012), a US study of postmenopausal women. During an average of 12.4 years of follow-up, there were 938 cases of CRC and 238 CRC-specific deaths. We estimated multivariate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for relationships between quintiles of diet scores (from baseline food frequency questionnaires) and outcomes. HEI-2010 score (hazard ratios were 0.81, 0.77, and 0.73 with P values of 0.04, 0.01, and <0.01 for quintiles 3–5 vs. quintile 1, respectively) and DASH score (hazard ratios were 0.72, 0.74, and 0.78 with P values of <0.01, <0.01, and 0.03 for quintiles 3–5 vs. quintile 1, respectively), but not other diet scores, were associated with a lower risk of CRC in adjusted models. No diet scores were significantly associated with CRC-specific mortality. Closer adherence to HEI-2010 and DASH dietary recommendations was inversely associated with risk of CRC in this large cohort of postmenopausal women.

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