(HealthDay News) — For patients with colorectal cancer, postdiagnosis total calcium intake may be inversely associated with the risk of death, according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Baiyu Yang, from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the correlation of calcium, vitamin D, and dairy products with all-cause and colorectal cancer-specific mortality in a cohort of 2,284 patients diagnosed with invasive, nonmetastatic colorectal cancer.

Participants were diagnosed after baseline (1992 to 1993) and up to 2009 and were followed through 2010. The baseline questionnaire was used to collect prediagnosis risk factor information, while postdiagnosis information was collected from questionnaires administered in 1999 and 2003 (available for 1,111 patients).

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During follow-up, the researcher found that 949 participants with colorectal cancer died, including 408 deaths from colorectal cancer.

There was an inverse association for postdiagnosis total calcium intake with all-cause mortality in multivariable-adjusted models (relative risk for highest vs. lowest quartile, 0.72; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.53-0.98; P trend = 0.02); total calcium intake correlated with a marginally statistically significant reduction in colorectal cancer-specific mortality (relative risk, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.33 to 1.05; P trend = 0.01).

Postdiagnosis milk intake, but not vitamin D intake, was inversely associated with all-cause mortality (relative risk, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.55 to 0.94; P trend = 0.02). There was no association for prediagnosis calcium, vitamin D, and dairy products with any mortality outcomes.

“Higher postdiagnosis intakes of total calcium and milk may be associated with lower risk of death among patients with nonmetastatic colorectal cancer,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Yang B, McCullough ML, Gapstur SM et al. Calcium, Vitamin D, Dairy Products, and Mortality Among Colorectal Cancer Survivors: The Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort. J Clin Oncol. 2014;doi:10.1200/JCO.2014.55.3024.