P-0034 - Folate intake and selected gastrointestinal cancers morbidity in Poland in the years 1960-2010

Date 28 June 2014
Event World GI 2014
Session Poster Session
Topics Cancer Aetiology, Epidemiology, Prevention
Gastrointestinal Cancers
Presenter Miroslaw Jarosz
Citation Annals of Oncology (2014) 25 (suppl_2): ii14-ii104. 10.1093/annonc/mdu165
Authors M. Jarosz, E. Rychlik, W. Sekula
  • National Food and Nutrition Institute, Warsaw/PL



Folate is considered as one of the important factors influencing the risk of some gastrointestinal cancers. It is assumed that folate influences carcinogenesis through its role in methylation reactions, nucleotide synthesis, and DNA repair. Foods containing folate probably protect against pancreatic cancer. Moreover some evidence suggests that folate protects against colorectal and oesophageal cancer. The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between trends in folate intake over a long period of time and pancreatic, colorectal and oesophageal cancer morbidity in Poland.


The study was based on pancreatic, colorectal and oesophageal cancer incidence rates derived from the National Cancer Registry in 1960-2010. Data on folate intake were obtained through conversion of food consumption data derived from the national food balance sheets into nutrients (done at the National Food and Nutrition Institute). Spearman correlation coefficients were used to estimate the relationship between the examined variables.


In 1960-2010 folate intake decreased from 435 to 375 µg/person/day. The reason for this was mainly the decline in consumption of cereals, the most important source of folate in the diet of Poles. Parallely, since the early 60s to mid-90s of the twentieth century the pancreatic and colorectal cancer incidence rates increased in both sexes, whilst oesophageal cancer incidence rate increased only in men. Then the slow decline in pancreatic and male oesophageal cancer was observed. In the same time the growth rate of colorectal cancer slowed down. Negative correlations were found between folate intake and pancreatic cancer (-0.56 for males and -0.66 for females), colorectal cancer (-0.83 for both sexes), and oesophageal (-0.56 for males, correlation coefficient not statistically significant for females).


The long-term decline in folate intake could negatively affect some gastrointestinal cancers such as pancreatic, colorectal and oesophageal cancer morbidity in Poland. It is possible that the increase of mentioned cancers incidence rates in 1960-1995 was partly connected with reduction in the consumption of foods containing folate, mainly cereals. However other dietary factors could exert a strong impact as well. From 1990 (i.e. initiation of economic transition), many dietary factors in Poland changed favourably, so further decline in folate intake was no longer so significant, especially in the case of pancreatic and oesophageal cancer morbidity. Obtained results indicate that the low consumption of foods containing folate is one of probable factors increasing the risk of pancreatic, colorectal and oesophageal cancer.