The authors investigated associations between serum C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations and colon and rectal cancer risk in a nested case-control study within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (1992-2003) among 1,096 incident cases and 1,096 controls selected using risk-set sampling and matched on study center, age, sex, time of blood collection, fasting status, menopausal status, menstrual cycle phase, and hormone replacement therapy. In conditional logistic regression with adjustment for education, smoking, nutritional factors, body mass index, and waist circumference, CRP showed a significant nonlinear association with colon cancer risk but not rectal cancer risk. Multivariable-adjusted relative risks for CRP concentrations of > or = 3.0 mg/L versus <1.0 mg/L were 1.36 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.00, 1.85; P-trend = 0.01) for colon cancer and 1.02 (95% CI: 0.67, 1.57; P-trend = 0.65) for rectal cancer. Colon cancer risk was significantly increased in men (relative risk = 1.74, 95% CI: 1.11, 2.73; P-trend = 0.01) but not in women (relative risk = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.67, 1.68; P-trend = 0.13). Additional adjustment for C-peptide, glycated hemoglobin, and high density lipoprotein cholesterol did not attenuate these results. These data provide evidence that elevated CRP concentrations are related to a higher risk of colon cancer but not rectal cancer, predominantly among men and independently of obesity, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Epidemiol

Publication Date





407 - 418


Adult, Aged, Biomarkers, Body Mass Index, C-Reactive Protein, Case-Control Studies, Cholesterol, HDL, Colonic Neoplasms, Europe, Female, Hemoglobin A, Glycosylated, Humans, Incidence, Logistic Models, Male, Middle Aged, Rectal Neoplasms, Risk Factors, Waist Circumference