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Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Dec;88(6):1653-62. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26398.

A food pattern that is predictive of flavonol intake and risk of pancreatic cancer.

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Department of Epidemiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Nuthetal, Germany.



In the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) study, we showed inverse associations between flavonols and pancreatic cancer risk.


We aimed to define a food pattern associated with intakes of quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin; to examine the association of that pattern with pancreatic cancer risk; and to investigate the associations in an independent study.


Reduced rank regression was applied to dietary data for 183,513 participants in the MEC. A food group pattern was extracted and simplified and applied to dietary data of 424,978 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Dietary intake in both studies was assessed by using specially developed questionnaires. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate relative risks for pancreatic cancer in the MEC (610 cases) and the EPIC (517 cases) studies.


The food group pattern consisted mainly of tea, fruit, cabbage, and wine. In the MEC, inverse associations with pancreatic cancer in smokers were observed for the food group pattern [relative risk: 0.59 (95% CI: 0.31, 1.12) when extreme quintiles were compared; P for trend = 0.03]. In the EPIC study, the simplified pattern was not associated with pancreatic cancer risk (P for trend = 0.78).


A food pattern associated with the intake of quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin was associated with lower pancreatic cancer risk in smokers in a US-based population. However, failure to replicate the associations in an independent study weakens the conclusions and raises questions about the utility of food patterns for flavonols across populations.

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