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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2009 Jul-Sep;10(3):429-36.

Meat consumption and cancer risk: a case-control study in Uruguay.

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Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo, Norway.



There is strong evidence that high meat intake increases the risk of colorectal cancer. However, for other cancer sites there is currently less convincing evidence.


To further explore associations between meat intake and cancer risk we conducted a multisite case-control study of 11 cancer sites in Uruguay between 1996 and 2004, including 3,539 cancer cases and 2,032 hospital controls. We used unconditional logistic regression to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals of cancer associated with meat intake.


In the multivariable model there was a significant increase in the odds of cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx (OR= 3.65, 95% CI: 2.21-6.01), esophagus (OR= 3.36, 95% CI: 1.97-5.72), larynx (OR=2.91, 95% CI: 1.80-4.68), stomach (OR= 2.19, 95% CI: 1.31-3.65), colorectum (OR= 3.83, 95% CI: 2.37-6.20), lung (OR= 2.17, 95% CI: 1.52-3.10), breast (OR= 1.97, 95% CI: 1.04-3.75), prostate (OR= 1.87, 95% CI: 1.08-3.21), bladder (OR= 2.11, 95% CI: 1.20-3.72) and kidney (OR= 2.72, 95% CI: 1.22-6.07) with high intake of red meat and similar findings were found for total meat. In addition, intake of beef and lamb were also associated with increased risk of several cancer sites. High intake of processed meat was associated with increased risk of cancers of the esophagus (OR= 1.63, 95% CI: 1.08-2.47), larynx (OR= 1.84, 95% CI: 1.21-2.78), stomach (OR= 1.62, 95% CI: 1.07-2.44), colorectum (OR= 2.15, 95% CI: 1.49-3.11), lung (OR= 1.70, 95% CI: 1.28-2.25) and breast (OR= 1.53, 95% CI: 1.01-2.30).


Our results confirm earlier findings of increased risk of digestive tract cancers, but suggest that meat consumption also increases the risk of several other cancers.

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