Antibiotic Therapy and Risk of Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer: A National Case-Control Study

Long H. Nguyen, Yin Cao, Nurgul Batyrbekova, Bjorn Roelstraete, Wenjie Ma, Hamed Khalili, Mingyang Song, Andrew T. Chan, Jonas F. Ludvigsson

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11 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION:Antibiotic use has emerged as a risk factor for colorectal neoplasia and is hypothesized as a contributor to the rising incidence of colorectal cancer under age 50 years or early-onset colorectal cancer (EOCRC). However, the impact of antibiotic use and risk of EOCRC is unknown.METHODS:We conducted a population-based case-control study of CRC among individuals aged ≥18 years in the Epidemiology Strengthened by histoPathology Reports in Sweden (ESPRESSO) cohort (2006-2016). The primary outcome was EOCRC. A secondary outcome was CRC at any age. Incident CRC was pathologically confirmed, and for each, up to 5 population-based controls were matched on age, sex, county of residence, and calendar year. We assessed prescriptions until 6 months before CRC diagnosis. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).RESULTS:We identified 54,804 cases of CRC (2,557 EOCRCs) and 261,089 controls. Compared with none, previous antibiotic use was not associated with EOCRC risk after adjustment for potential confounders (aOR 1.06, 95% CI: 0.96, 1.17) with similarly null findings when stratified by anatomic tumor site. In contrast, previous antibiotic use was weakly associated with elevated risk for CRC at any age (aOR 1.05, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.07). A potential but modest link between broad-spectrum antibiotic use and EOCRC was observed (aOR 1.13, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.26).DISCUSSION:We found no conclusive evidence that antibiotics are associated with EOCRC risk. Although antibiotic use was weakly associated with risk of CRC at any age, the magnitude of association was modest, and the study period was relatively short.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E00437
JournalClinical and Translational Gastroenterology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 13 2022


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