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Long-term and recurrent use of antibiotics early in life may raise the risk of early-onset colorectal cancer (CRC) and adenomas, particularly in people with a variant in a specific gut microbiota regulatory gene, a new analysis found.


  • Researchers analyzed data from UK Biobank participants who were recruited between 2006 and 2010 and were followed up to February 2022.

  • They evaluated associations between early-life factors and early-onset CRC risk overall, champix discount coupon focusing on long-term and recurrent antibiotic use.

  • The team also estimated associations between long-term and recurrent antibiotic use in early life and CRC risk by polygenic risk score using 127 CRC-related genetic variants, as well as a particular gut microbiota regulatory gene, fucosyltransferase 2 (FUT2).

  • Associations for early-onset colorectal adenomas, as precursor to CRC, were also evaluated.

  • The study included 113,256 participants. There were 165 early-onset CRC cases and 719 early-onset adenoma cases.


  • Early-life, long-term, and recurrent antibiotic use was “nominally” associated with an increased risk of early-onset CRC (odds ratio [OR], 1.48; P = .046) and adenomas (OR, 1.40; P < .001).

  • Regarding variants of FUT2, the risk of early-onset CRC appeared to be greater for individuals with the rs281377 TT genotype (OR, 2.74) in comparison with those with the CT and TT genotypes, but none of the estimates reached statistical significance.

  • The researchers found a strong positive association between long-term and recurrent antibiotic use and adenomas, largely in patients with rs281377 TT (OR, 1.75) and CT genotypes (OR, 1.51).

  • Individuals with a high polygenic risk score were at higher risk of early-onset CRC (OR, 1.72; P = .019), while those with low polygenic risk scores were not at higher risk (OR, 1.05; P = .889). The association between antibiotic use and early-onset CRC risk by family history was also higher (OR, 2.34).


“Our findings suggested that individuals with genetic risk factors (ie, family history of CRC) who have experienced early-life antibiotics use on a long-term basis are probably at increased early-onset CRC risk,” the authors concluded. “Given that antibiotics remain valuable in the management of bacterial infections during early life, investigating the pros and cons of early-life antibiotic use is of great significance.”


The study, led by Fangyuan Jiang, with Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China, was published online July 28 in the International Journal of Cancer.


The study relied on participants’ recall of early-life antibiotics use, which could introduce recall bias and misclassification of this exposure.


No conflicts of interest were reported.

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