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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

The COLON study: Colorectal cancer: Longitudinal, Observational study on Nutritional and lifestyle factors that may influence colorectal tumour recurrence, survival and quality of life

Renate M Winkels1*, Renate C Heine-Bröring1, Moniek van Zutphen1, Suzanne van Harten-Gerritsen1, Dieuwertje EG Kok1, Fränzel JB van Duijnhoven1 and Ellen Kampman12

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands

2 Department for Health Evidence, Radboud UMC Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:374  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-374

Published: 27 May 2014

Abstract

Background

There is clear evidence that nutrition and lifestyle can modify colorectal cancer risk. However, it is not clear if those factors can affect colorectal cancer treatment, recurrence, survival and quality of life. This paper describes the background and design of the “COlorectal cancer: Longitudinal, Observational study on Nutritional and lifestyle factors that may influence colorectal tumour recurrence, survival and quality of life” – COLON – study. The main aim of this study is to assess associations of diet and other lifestyle factors, with colorectal cancer recurrence, survival and quality of life. We extensively investigate diet and lifestyle of colorectal cancer patients at diagnosis and during the following years; this design paper focusses on the initial exposures of interest: diet and dietary supplement use, body composition, nutrient status (e.g. vitamin D), and composition of the gut microbiota.

Methods/Design

The COLON study is a multi-centre prospective cohort study among at least 1,000 incident colorectal cancer patients recruited from 11 hospitals in the Netherlands. Patients with colorectal cancer are invited upon diagnosis. Upon recruitment, after 6 months, 2 years and 5 years, patients fill out food-frequency questionnaires; questionnaires about dietary supplement use, physical activity, weight, height, and quality of life; and donate blood samples. Diagnostic CT-scans are collected to assess cross-sectional areas of skeletal muscle, subcutaneous fat, visceral fat and intermuscular fat, and to assess muscle attenuation. Blood samples are biobanked to facilitate future analyse of biomarkers, nutrients, DNA etc. Analysis of serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels, and analysis of metabolomic profiles are scheduled. A subgroup of patients with colon cancer is asked to provide faecal samples before and at several time points after colon resection to study changes in gut microbiota during treatment. For all patients, information on vital status is retrieved by linkage with national registries. Information on clinical characteristics is gathered from linkage with the Netherlands Cancer Registry and with hospital databases. Hazards ratios will be calculated for dietary and lifestyle factors at diagnosis in relation to recurrence and survival. Repeated measures analyses will be performed to assess changes over time in dietary and other factors in relation to recurrence and survival.

Keywords:
Colon cancer; Rectal cancer; Nutrition; Diet; Dietary supplements; Survival; Recurrence; Cohort; Body composition; Quality of life (max 10)