Health and Nutrition

April 21, 2005

Heavy consumption of processed meats linked to increased risk for pancreatic cancer

Filed under: Cancer,Diet,General Health — Doc Joe @ 5:49 pm

Public release date: 20-Apr-2005

Contact: Warren R. Froelich


American Association for Cancer Research

Anaheim, Calif. – Heavy consumption of hot dogs, sausages and luncheon
meats, along with other forms of processed meat, was associated with
the greatest risk of pancreatic cancer in a large multiethnic study
reported today at the 96th Annual Meeting of the American Association
for Cancer Research.

“The results suggest that carcinogenic substances related to meat
preparation, rather than their inherent fat or cholesterol content,
might be responsible for the association,” said Ute Nöthlings, DrPH,
MSE, the study’s lead investigator from the Cancer Research Center at
the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.

Meat consumption has been linked to pancreatic cancer in several
case-control studies in the past, but the results have been
inconsistent and data from prospective studies has been lacking.
For this study, researchers from the Cancer Research Center and USC
examined the relationship of diet to pancreatic cancer among 190,545
men and women of African-American, Japanese-American, Caucasian, Latino
and Native Hawaiian origin who were part of the Multiethnic Cohort
Study in Hawaii and Los Angeles. An average follow-up of seven years
yielded 482 incident cases of pancreatic cancer.
The researchers found that the heavy consumption of processed meats
resulted in the highest risk for pancreatic cancer, after adjusting for
age, smoking status, history of diabetes, familial history of
pancreatic cancer and ethnicity. Those who consumed the greatest amount
of processed meats had a 67 percent increase in risk over those
participants with the lowest intake of this food category. A diet rich
in pork and red meat also increased pancreatic cancer risk by about 50
percent, compared to their counterparts who ate less meat.
Consumption of poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs showed no link to
pancreatic cancer risk, nor did overall intake of total fat, saturated
fat, or cholesterol.
“An analysis of fat and saturated fat intakes showed a significant
increase in risk for fats from meat, but not from dairy products,
indicating that fat and saturated fat are not likely to contribute to
the underlying carcinogenic mechanism,” said Nöthlings.
In particular, the scientists suggest that chemical reactions
that occur during the preparation of processed meats might be
responsible for the association. Such reactions can yield carcinogens
including heterocyclic amines or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

“Our study is the largest of its kind to demonstrate a link
between high consumption of processed meats over long periods of time
and pancreatic cancer,” said Nöthlings. “The sample size allowed us to
obtain statistically significant risk-estimates that support this
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research is a
professional society of more than 24,000 laboratory, translational, and
clinical scientists engaged in all areas of cancer research in the
United States and in more than 60 other countries. AACR’s mission is to
accelerate the prevention and cure of cancer through research,
education, communication, and advocacy. Its principal activities
include the publication of five major peer-reviewed scientific
journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer
Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology,
Biomarkers & Prevention. AACR’s Annual Meetings attract more than
15,000 participants who share new and significant discoveries in the
cancer field. Specialty meetings, held throughout the year, focus on
the latest developments in all areas of cancer research.

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