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Lung Cancer. 2001 Oct;34(1):37-46.

Lung cancer risk and red meat consumption among Iowa women.

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Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NCI, National Institutes of Health, 6120 Executive Boulevard (EPS), Room 8000, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



Some epidemiologic studies suggest that diets high in total fat, saturated fat, or cholesterol are associated with increased risk of lung cancer. Others suggest that diets high in red meat consumption, particularly well-done red meat, are a lung cancer risk factor. In Iowa, we had the opportunity to investigate concurrently the role of meat intake and macronutrients in lung cancer etiology.


A population-based case-control study of both non-smoking and smoking women was conducted in Iowa. A 70-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was completed by 360 cases and 574 frequency-matched controls. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using logistic regression. Multivariate models included age, education, pack-years of smoking, yellow-green vegetable intake, fruit/fruit juice intake, nutrient density calories, previous non-malignant lung disease, alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI).


When comparing the fifth (highest) to the first (lowest) quintile of consumption of total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, we obtained odds ratios of 2.0 (1.3-3.1), 3.0 (1.9-4.7), and 2.0 (1.3-3.0) respectively. However, when red meat was entered into the model along with total fat, saturated fat or cholesterol, the excess risk for the macronutrients disappeared while an odds ratio of 3.3 (1.7-7.6) was obtained for red meat. The odds ratios for red meat consumption were similar among adenocarcinoma cases, OR=3.0 (1.1-7.9) and non-adenocarcinoma cases, OR=3.2 (1.3-8.3) and among life-time nonsmokers and ex-smokers OR=2.8 (1.4-5.4), and current smokers, OR=4.9 (1.1-22.3). Yellow-green vegetables were protective with an odds ratio of 0.4 (0.2-0.7).


Consumption of red meat, was associated with an increased risk of lung cancer even after controlling for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, fruit, yellow-green vegetable consumption and smoking history, while yellow-green vegetables are associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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