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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 Sep;59(9):1641-50. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500042. Epub 2015 Jul 2.

Relation of allium vegetables intake with head and neck cancers: evidence from the INHANCE consortium.

Author information

  • 1Department of Epidemiology, IRCCS - Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milan, Italy.
  • 2UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
  • 3Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.
  • 4Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, CRO Aviano National Cancer Institute, Aviano, Italy.
  • 5International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.
  • 6Regional Authority of Public Health in BanskaBystrica, Slovakia.
  • 7The M. Skasodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology, Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention, Warsaw, Poland.
  • 8National Institute of Public Health, Bucharest, Romania.
  • 9National Institute of Environmental Health, Budapest, Hungary.
  • 10Cancer Research Centre, Moscow, Russia.
  • 11Institute of Occupational Medicine, Lodz, Poland.
  • 12Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.
  • 13Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
  • 14Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
  • 15Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Institut Universitaire de Médecine Sociale et Préventive (IUMSP), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • 16Division of Epidemiology, Department of Population Heath, NYU School Of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.
  • 17National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.
  • 18German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Aging Research, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • 19German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), Heidelberg, Germany.
  • 20Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
  • 21Department of Family & Preventive Medicine and Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
  • 22The Tisch Cancer Institute and Institute of Translational Epidemiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.



Only a few studies analyzed the role of allium vegetables with reference to head and neck cancers (HNC), with mixed results. We investigated the potential favorable role of garlic and onion within the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology (INHANCE) Consortium.


We analyzed pooled individual-level data from eight case-control studies, including 4590 cases and 7082 controls. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between garlic and onion intakes and HNC risk. Compared with no or low garlic use, the ORs of HNC were 0.95 (95% CI 0.71-1.27) for intermediate and 0.74 (95% CI 0.55-0.99) for high garlic use (p for trend = 0.02). The ORs of HNC for increasing categories of onion intake were 0.91 (95% CI 0.68-1.21) for >1 to ≤3 portions per week, and 0.83 (95% CI 0.60-1.13) for >3 portions per week (p for trend = 0.02), as compared to <1 portion per week. We found an inverse association between high onion intake and laryngeal cancer risk (OR = 0.69; 95% CI 0.54-0.88), but no significant association for other subsites.


The results of this pooled-analysis support a possible moderate inverse association between garlic and onion intake and HNC risk.

© 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Allium vegetables; Diet; Garlic; Head and Neck Neoplasms; Onion

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