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Cancer Res. 2008 Nov 15;68(22):9274-9. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-2015.

A prospective study of meat and fat intake in relation to small intestinal cancer.

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  • 1Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland 20852, USA.


Diets high in red and processed meats are associated with carcinogenesis of the large intestine, but no prospective study has examined meat and fat intake in relation to cancer of the small intestine. We prospectively investigated meat and fat intakes, estimated from a food frequency questionnaire, in relation to small intestinal cancer among half a million men and women enrolled in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). During up to 8 years of follow-up, 60 adenocarcinomas and 80 carcinoid tumors of the small intestine were diagnosed. Despite slightly elevated HRs for red meat, there were no clear associations for red or processed meat intake and either adenocarcinoma or carcinoid tumors of the small intestine. In contrast, we noted a markedly elevated risk for carcinoid tumors of the small intestine with saturated fat intake in both the categorical (highest versus lowest tertile: HR, 3.18; 95% CI, 1.62-6.25) and continuous data (HR, 3.72; 95% CI, 1.79-7.74 for each 10-g increase in intake per 1,000 kcal). Our findings suggest that the positive associations for meat intake reported in previous case-control studies may partly be explained by saturated fat intake.

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