Intended for healthcare professionals


Antibiotics and cancer? . . . and other stories

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 19 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5510

Antibiotics and colorectal cancer

An enormous case-control study—nearly 30 000 cases matched to 140 000 controls—reports associations between use of antibiotics and risk of colorectal cancer (Gut doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2019-318593). However, there’s no consistent pattern. Exposure to antibiotics increased risk of cancer in the proximal colon but had a small protective effect on rectal cancer. Penicillins tended to increase risk of cancer whereas tetracyclines reduced risk. The investigators wonder if the explanation lies in the effects of antibiotics on gut microbiota. Another possibility is that these are chance findings arising from multiple hypothesis testing in a large dataset.

Blood pressure in children

The European Human Early-Life Exposome (Helix) study investigated 1300 …

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