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Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Apr;87(4):970-7.

Glycemic load, glycemic index, and pancreatic cancer risk in the Netherlands Cohort Study.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands.



Recent studies of pancreatic cancer suggest a role for hyperinsulinemia in carcinogenesis. Because insulin is secreted in response to elevated blood glucose concentrations, dietary factors that increase these concentrations may be important in pancreatic carcinogenesis.


The objective was to examine prospectively the relation between pancreatic cancer risk and dietary glycemic load (GL), overall glycemic index (GI), and intake of total carbohydrates and mono- and disaccharides.


The Netherlands Cohort Study consisted of 120,852 men and women who completed a baseline questionnaire in 1986. After 13.3 y of follow-up, 408 pancreatic cancer cases were detected, 66% of which were microscopically confirmed. A validated 150-item food-frequency questionnaire, completed at baseline, was used to calculate carbohydrate and mono- and disaccharide intakes and the GL and GI of the diet.


Dietary GL, GI, or intake of carbohydrates and mono- and disaccharides were not associated with pancreatic cancer risk in this cohort. Also, the associations were not modified by sex. Our results did not change after the analysis was restricted to microscopically confirmed pancreatic cancer cases or after individuals who reported a history of diabetes at baseline were excluded from the analyses.


Overall, our findings do not support the hypothesis that GL, GI, or intake of carbohydrates and mono- and disaccharides are positively associated with pancreatic cancer risk. This is in agreement with previous prospective studies that investigated the relation between GL and GI and pancreatic cancer risk.

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