Hay fever and asthma as markers of atopic immune response and risk of colorectal cancer in three large cohort studies

Eric J. Jacobs, Susan M. Gapstur, Christina C. Newton, Michelle C. Turner, Peter T. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: In a previous analysis of 12 cancers in the Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II) cohort including follow-up from 1982-2000, having both hay fever and asthma was associated with lower colorectal cancer mortality. The combination of these allergic conditions may be a marker for allergy-related immune responses that could inhibit colorectal carcinogenesis. Methods:Weexamined the association of having both hay fever and asthma with colorectal cancer mortality among 1,023,191 participants in CPS-I, followed from 1959-1972, and 1,102,092 participants in CPS-II, now followed from 1982-2008. We also examined associations with colorectal cancer incidence among 174,917 participants in the CPS-II Nutrition Cohort, a subgroup of CPS-II followed from 1992-2007. During the followup, there were 5,644 colorectal cancer deaths in CPS-I, 13,558 colorectal cancer deaths in CPS-II, and 3,365 incident colorectal cancer cases in the CPS-II Nutrition Cohort. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to calculate multivariable-adjusted relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: RRs for colorectal cancer mortality associated with having both asthma and hay fever, compared with neither condition, were 0.90 (95% CI, 0.74-1.09) in CPS-I, 0.79 (95% CI, 0.69-0.91) in CPS-II, and 0.83 (95% CI, 0.74-0.92) when results from both cohorts were combined in a meta-analysis. The corresponding RR for colorectal cancer incidence in the CPS-II Nutrition Cohort was 0.90 (95% CI, 0.71-1.14). Conclusion: These results support an association between having both hay fever and asthma and modestly lower colorectal cancer mortality. Impact: Research examining other potential markers of allergy-related immune response in relation to colorectal cancer is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-669
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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