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Cancer Causes Control. 2010 Dec;21(12):2269-79. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9652-0. Epub 2010 Oct 10.

Iron intake and markers of iron status and risk of Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma.

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Cancer Epidemiology Health Services Research Group, Centre for Public Health, Queens University Belfast, Mulhouse Building, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BJ, UK.



To investigate the association between iron intake and iron status with Barrett's esophagus (BE) and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC).


A total of 220 BE patients, 224 EAC patients, and 256 frequency-matched controls completed a lifestyle and food frequency questionnaire and provided serum and toenail samples between 2002 and 2005. Using multiple logistic regression, odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated within quartiles of intake/status.


Comparing the fourth to the first quartile, ferritin (OR 0.47; 95% CI: 0.23, 0.97) and transferrin saturation (OR 0.41; 95% CI: 0.20, 0.82) were negatively associated with BE; while total iron binding capacity was positively associated per 50 μg/dl increment (OR 1.47; 95% CI: 1.12, 1.92). Comparing the fourth to the first quartile, iron intake (OR 0.50; 95% CI: 0.25, 0.98), non-heme iron intake per 10 mg/day increment (OR 0.29; 95% CI: 0.08, 0.99), and toenail iron (OR 0.40; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.93) were negatively associated with EAC; while heme iron intake was positively associated (OR 3.11 95% CI: 1.46, 6.61).


In contrast to the hypothesis that increased iron intakes and higher iron stores are a risk factor for BE and EAC, this study suggests that higher iron intakes and stores may have a protective association with BE and EAC, with the exception of what was found for heme iron intake.

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