The association between dietary carbohydrate intake and colorectal cancer risk remains controversial. We therefore conducted this meta-analysis to assess the relationship between them. A literature search from the databases of Pubmed, Embase, Web of science and Medline databases were performed for available articles published in English (up to Sep 2016). Pooled relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated to evaluate the association between dietary carbohydrate intake and colorectal cancer risk. The random effect model was selected as the pooling method. Publication bias was estimated using Egger's regression asymmetry test and funnel plot. A total of 17 articles involving 14402 colorectal cancer patients and 846004 participants were eligible with the inclusion criteria in this meta-analysis. The pooled RR with 95% CI of dietary carbohydrate intake for colorectal cancer, colon cancer and rectum cancer risk were 1.08 (95%CI= 0.93-1.23), 1.09 (95%CI= 0.95-1.25) and 1.17 (95%CI= 0.98-1.39), respectively. When we conducted the subgroup analysis by gender, the significant association was found in men populations [RR = 1.23, 95%CI= 1.01-1.57], but not in the women populations. In the further subgroup analyses for study design and geographic locations, we did not find any association between dietary carbohydrate intake and colorectal cancer risk in the subgroup results, respectively. No significant publication bias was found either by the Egger's regression asymmetry test or by funnel plot. This meta-analysis suggested that higher dietary carbohydrate intake may be an increased factor for colorectal cancer risk in men populations. Further studies are wanted to confirm this relationship.
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