Prospective association of serum and dietary magnesium with colorectal cancer incidence

Elizabeth J. Polter, Guillaume Onyeaghala, Pamela L. Lutsey, Aaron R. Folsom, Corinne E. Joshu, Elizabeth A. Platz, Anna E. Prizment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Laboratory and epidemiologic research suggests a protective role of magnesium in colorectal cancer development. We estimated the associations of serum and dietary magnesium with colorectal cancer incidence in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Methods: Serum magnesium concentration was measured in blood collected twice (1987-1989 and 1990-1992) and averaged. Dietary magnesium was assessed by food-frequency questionnaire administered twice (1987-1989 and 1993- 1995) and averaged. For both dietary and serum magnesium, the averaged measures were categorized into quintiles for analysis. Analyses included 315 colorectal cancer cases among 13,009 participants for serum magnesium (followed for a medianof20.4 years), and 256 cases among 10,971 participants for dietary magnesium (followed for a median of 17.5 years). Cox proportional hazards regression was used to calculate multivariable-adjusted HRs and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: Multivariable-adjusted HRs (95% CI) of colorectal cancer for the highest four quintiles compared with the first quintile of serum magnesium were as follows: Q2: 0.70 (0.49-0.99); Q3: 0.68 (0.47-1.00); Q4: 0.87 (0.62-1.21); and Q5: 0.79 (0.57-1.11; Ptrend = 0.04). An inverse association was present in females (HR for Q5 vs. Q1: 0.59, 95% CI: 0.36-0.98, Ptrend = 0.01), but not males (HR for Q5 vs. Q1: 1.10, 95% CI: 0.67-1.79, Ptrend = 0.92; Pinteraction = 0.34). Dietary magnesium was not statistically significantly associated with colorectal cancer risk. Conclusions: Our study found a higher risk of colorectal cancer with lower serum magnesium among females, but not males. Impact: If our findings are confirmed, maintaining adequate serum magnesium levels may be important for colorectal cancer prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1292-1299
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Cancer incidence data have been provided by Maryland Cancer Registry, Center of Cancer Surveillance and Control, Maryland Department of Health (201 West Preston Street, Room 400, Baltimore, MD 21201). The authors acknowledge the State of Maryland, the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund, and the National Program of Cancer Registries of the CDC for the funds that helped support the availability of the cancer registry data. The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH, Department of Health and Human Services, under contract numbers listed as follows: HHSN268201700001I (to D.J. Couper), HHSN268201700002I (to J. Coresh), HHSN268201700003I (to A. Folsom), HHSN268201700005I (to G. Heiss), and HHSN268201700004I (to T.H. Mosley). The authors thank the staff and participants of the ARIC study for their important contributions. Studies on cancer in ARIC are also supported by the National Cancer Institute (U01 CA164975, to E.A. Platz). This work was additionally supported by P30 CA006973 (to W. Nelson).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors.


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