Among 4 Diet Quality Indexes, Only the Alternate Mediterranean Diet Score Is Associated with Better Colorectal Cancer Survival and Only in African American Women in the Multiethnic Cohort1–3

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Abstract

Background:

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, with a 5-y survival rate of ˜65%. Therefore, the identification of modifiable health factors to improve CRC survival is crucial.

Objective:

We investigated the association of 4 prediagnostic a priori diet quality indexes with CRC-specific and all-cause mortality in the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC).

Methods:

The MEC included >215,000 African-American, Native Hawaiian, Japanese-American, Latino, and white adults living in Hawaii and California who completed a validated quantitative food-frequency questionnaire in 1993–1996. CRC cases and deaths were identified through linkages to cancer registries and to state and national vital registries. Sexspecific HRs and 95% CIs were estimated for the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2010, the Alternative HEI (AHEI) 2010, the alternate Mediterranean Diet (aMED) score, and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) index with CRC-specific and overall mortality as the primary outcomes. Ethnicity-specific analyses were the secondary outcomes.

Results:

Among 4204 MEC participants diagnosed with invasive CRC through 2010, 1976 all-cause and 1095 CRC-specific deaths were identified. A higher aMED score was associated with lower CRC-specific mortality in women [HR continuous pattern score divided by its respective SD (HR1SD): 0.86; 95% CI: 0.77, 0.96] but not in men (HR1SD: 1.01; 95% CI: 0.92, 1.11). A higher aMED score was also associated with lower all-cause mortality in women (HR1SD: 0.88; 95% CI: 0.81, 0.96) but not in men (HR1SD: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.93, 1.07). The HEI-2010, AHEI-2010, and DASH index were not significantly associated with CRC-specific or with all-cause mortality. The inverse relation for the aMED score was limited to African Americans and to colon (compared with rectal) cancer.

Conclusions:

The aMED score was related to lower mortality only in African-American women (1 of 5 ethnic groups studied). The results should be interpreted with caution due to the small numbers of cases within ethnic groups and the issue of multiple testing.

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