Hot infusions and risk of colorectal cancer in Uruguay: a case-control study

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The evidence of possible roles for the most common hot infusions intake (tea and coffee) in the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) needs additional data. Regarding ‘mate’ intake (infusion of Ilex paraguariensis herb), a previous multi-site study reported lack of association for its highest intake on CRC risk. The present study was conducted to better understand the associations between the intake of this and other infusions and CRC risk.


Patients (611 CRC incident cases and 2394 controls, all belonging to public hospitals) were interviewed through a questionnaire, including socio-demographic, reproductive and lifestyle variables, and a food-frequency questionnaire of 64 items, analyzing tea, ‘mate’ and coffee intake (consumer status, daily intake, age at start and at quit). Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated through unconditional logistic regression, adjusting for relevant potential confounders.


Tea and coffee intake displayed significant and inverse associations with CRC risk, mainly among men (OR = 0.54, 95% CI 0.38-0.76 for tea and OR = 0.59, 95% CI 0.41-0.85 for coffee). Mate intake showed a significant inverse association among women (OR = 0.50, 95% CI 0.33-0.77), with a marginal heterogeneity between sexes (P = 0.07). Concerning age strata, tea intake displayed inverse associations in all ages, whereas ‘mate’ and coffee intake showed stronger inverse associations for age ≥ 70, suggesting a gradient along time.


We found evidence of different significant inverse associations for tea, ‘mate’ and coffee intake and CRC risk. To our knowledge, this is the first epidemiologic study reporting inverse results on ‘mate’ intake and CRC, which are explained by a stronger association among women.

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