• 1 Monash University
  • 2 Universiti Putra Malaysia


At least 6 million deaths occurred worldwide are due to cancer and this figure is expected to rise to
15 millions by the year 2020. Colorectal cancer is among the most commonly occurring cancers
both globally and in Malaysia. Numerous studies have shown significant relationships between
various dietary components and the risks for colorectal cancer. Meanwhile, several theories have
been suggested as etiological explanations, one of which is the influence of dietary factors on the
cell proliferation rate. A higher cell proliferation rate is statistically associated with increased risk
of colorectal cancer. However, evidence of a significant relationship between diet and colorectal
adenomas, a potential precursor for colorectal cancer, remains insufficient. Colorectal adenomas or
polyps are vital in their relationship with colorectal cancers as almost 70% of all colorectal cancers
are developed from these polyps. Studying the modifiable risk factors related to polyps will provide
an opportunity for the prevention of colorectal cancer even before it develops. This paper reviews
the available evidence linking dietary factors with the risk for colorectal adenomas. As the numbers
of published studies are limited, of which most are concentrated in Western countries, there is a
need for epidemiological studies in Malaysia to strengthen the evidence of a relationship between
diet and colorectal adenomas.