No link found between cured meat and pancreatic cancer

(Medical Xpress) -- Previous research has suggested that the consumption of cured meat may have a possible link to pancreatic cancer risk however a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that there is no evidence of this.

Pancreatic cancer can be highly lethal and affects around 43,000 Americans every year. Of these affected, 95 percent of them will die within five years. Because of these numbers, researchers are focusing on possible triggers and risk factors to prevent the development of the cancer.

The study, conducted by the , used a 124-item dietary questionnaire to evaluate how much nitrate and nitrite participants were receiving in their diet. The researchers were looking for nitrate and nitrite because these have shown to cause tumors in laboratory animals.

With 300,000 people completing the questionnaire, just over 1,000 of them developed pancreatic cancer within the following 10 years. While men who had consumed larger amounts of nitrate and nitrite did show a small increased risk, it was not a significant amount and could have just been random chance. Women showed no increased risk connected to a difference in dietary habits.

While this study only adds to the lack of a dietary connection to the risk of pancreatic , the researchers still stress the importance of eating a healthy diet that includes a large variety of fruits and vegetables and limited preservatives.

More information: Pancreatic Cancer and Exposure to Dietary Nitrate and Nitrite in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, Am. J. Epidemiol. (2011)
doi:10.1093/aje/kwr092 . First published online: June 17, 2011

Nitrate and nitrite are precursors of N-nitroso compounds, which induce tumors of the pancreas in animals. The authors evaluated the relation of dietary nitrate and nitrite to pancreatic cancer risk in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Nitrate and nitrite intakes were assessed at baseline using a 124-item food frequency questionnaire. During approximately 10 years of follow-up between 1995 and 2006, 1,728 incident pancreatic cancer cases were identified. There was no association between total nitrate or nitrite intake and pancreatic cancer in men or women. However, men in the highest quintile of summed nitrate/nitrite intake from processed meat had a nonsignificantly elevated risk of pancreatic cancer (hazard ratio = 1.18, 95% confidence interval: 0.95, 1.47; P-trend = 0.11). The authors observed a stronger increase in risk among men for nitrate/nitrite intake from processed meat at ages 12–13 years (highest quintile vs. lowest: hazard ratio = 1.32, 95% confidence interval: 0.99, 1.76; P-trend = 0.11), though the relation did not achieve statistical significance. The authors found no associations between adult or adolescent nitrate or nitrite intake from processed meats and pancreatic cancer among women. These results provide modest evidence that processed meat sources of dietary nitrate and nitrite may be associated with pancreatic cancer among men and provide no support for the hypothesis in women.

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Citation: No link found between cured meat and pancreatic cancer (2011, July 5) retrieved 12 April 2024 from
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