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J Exp Ther Oncol. 2012;10(2):107-12.

Relation between nitrate and nitrite food habits with lung cancer.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Nutrition, School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Nitrites, a probable human carcinogen, generate reactive nitrogen species that may cause damage to the lung. We evaluated the association between nutritional habits related to nitrite and nitrate intake and risk of lung cancer in Mazandaran, Northern Province of Iran. In this case-control study the two groups were matched for gender and age (+/- 5 years). A semi -quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was used to collect dietary data about nutritional habits related to nitrate, nitrite, vitamins E and C intake, from 40 lung cancer cases and 40 control subjects admitted at Mazanaran hospitals. We calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the risk of lung cancer using logistic regression. Mean score of nutritional habits in case group was significantly lower than that in control group (P less than or equal 0.001). We observed a positive association between animal sources of nitrate and nitrite intake (OR = 2.7, 95% CI: 0.13-0.96) and risk of lung cancer. Decreased risk of lung cancer was also observed with fruit intake (OR = 0.26, 95% CI: 1.3-11). Our results indicate a probable association between nutritional habits related to animal sources of nitrate and nitrite intake and the risk of lung cancer that requires to be confirmed by other studies.

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