Vitamin B2 intake and colorectal cancer risk; results from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study cohort

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Vitamin B2 serves as a cofactor to enhance one-carbon metabolism, maintain mucous membranes, and has been implicated in lowering colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. However, few prospective studies have examined the association between vitamin B2 intake and CRC. In this study, we estimated the associations between vitamin B2 intake and CRC risk using the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) cohorts. Vitamin B2 intake was measured by a validated food frequency questionnaire every 4 years. Among 100,033 women in the NHS and 44,007 men in the HPFS we documented a total of 3,037 incident CRC cases (2,093 women and 944 men) during 24–26 years of follow-up until 2010. Intakes of total (from food and supplements), dietary (from food only), and supplemental vitamin B2 were inversely related to CRC risk in age-adjusted analysis in NHS. However, the association was attenuated and no longer statistically significant in multivariate analysis (p-trend ≥0.08). The pooled multivariate relative risks (95% confidence interval) comparing individuals in the extreme quintiles of intakes were 0.93 (0.81–1.06) for total vitamin B2, 0.89 (0.61–1.28) for dietary vitamin B2 and 0.94 (0.81–1.08) for supplemental vitamin B2. These associations of total vitamin B2 intake were similar for risk of CRC with varying lag-time periods (0–4, 4–8, 8–12 or 12–16 years), for risk of CRC subtypes by tumor location, and across strata of intake of folate or alcohol. Our prospective data do not support a beneficial role of vitamin B2 intake in lowering incidence of CRC.

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