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Influence of micronutrients and related genes on colorectal cancer risk

Abstract  Dietary factors are generally believed to be important determinants of risk of colorectal cancer, but the role of specific micronutrients remains controversial. The potential roles of B vitamins (especially folate and vitamin B6), vitamin D, and calcium are considered. Although much emphasis has been on the potential beneficial role of folate through one-carbon metabolism, recent evidence suggests an additional important role for vitamin B6.

Among micronutrients, the evidence for a benefit is strongest for calcium and vitamin D. Although the Women’s Health Initiative trial did not confirm the calcium and vitamin D hypotheses, critical issues with the design of the trial may have contributed to the null findings. The study of nutrient-gene interactions increases the biologic plausibility of a role of these micronutrients, especially for vitamin D.