Diet and basal cell carcinoma of the skin in a prospective cohort of men

Rob M. Van Dam, Zhiping Huang, Edward Giovannucci, Eric B. Rimm, David J. Hunter, Graham A. Colditz, Meir J. Stampfer, Walter C. Willett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Background: Low intake of fat and high intake of specific vitamins have been hypothesized to reduce risk of basal cell carcinoma of the skin (BCC). Objective: Our objective was to examine intakes of fat, antioxidant nutrients, retinol, folate, and vitamin D in relation to risk of BCC. Design: In 1986, diet was assessed by a validated food-frequency questionnaire in 43217 male participants of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were 40-75 y of age and free of cancer. During 8 y of follow-up, we ascertained 3190 newly diagnosed cases of BCC. Results: Total fat consumption was associated with a lower risk of BCC [relative risk (RR): 0.81; 95% CI: 0.72, 0.90 for the highest compared with the lowest quintile of intake; P for trend <0.001). Simultaneous modeling of specific fatty acids suggested that this inverse association was limited to monounsaturated fat (RR: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.65, 0.96; P for trend = 0.02); saturated and polyunsaturated fat were not associated with BCC risk. Folate intake was associated with a slightly higher risk of BCC (RR: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.40; P for trend = 0.11), whereas α- carotene was associated with a slightly lower risk (RR: 0.88; 95% CI: 0.79, 0.99; P for trend = 0.01). Intakes of long-chain n-3 fatty acids, retinol, vitamin C, vitamin D, or vitamin E were not materially related to BCC risk. Conclusions: These findings do not support the hypothesis that diets low in fat or high ill specific vitamins lower risk of BCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-141
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000


  • Antioxidants
  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Dietary fat
  • Folate
  • Men
  • Monounsaturated fat
  • Neoplasms
  • Skin neoplasms
  • Vitamins
  • α-carotene


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