Dietary meat, dairy products, fat, and cholesterol and pancreatic cancer risk in a prospective study

Dominique S. Michaud, Edward Giovannucci, Walter C. Willett, Graham A. Colditz, Charles S. Fuchs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Case-control studies suggest that meat and cholesterol intakes may be related to elevated risks of pancreatic cancer. Few prospective studies have examined associations between diet and pancreatic cancer, although in one recent study saturated fat consumption was related to higher risk. In a cohort of US women, the authors confirmed 178 pancreatic cancer cases over 18 years of follow-up. A mailed 61-item food frequency questionnaire was self-administered at baseline, and health and lifestyle variables were updated biennially. Analyses were performed using Cox proportional hazards models to adjust for potential confounders. Intakes of total fat, different types of fats, and cholesterol were not associated with pancreatic cancer risk. Similarly, total meat, red meat, and dairy products were not related to risk. Individual food items contributing to intakes of total meat and dairy products, as well as fish and eggs, did not reveal any specific association. Updating dietary exposures by using questionnaires from 1980, 1984, 1986, and 1990 produced similar findings. The authors' data do not support previous findings that meat or saturated fat intakes are related to pancreatic cancer risk. Future prospective studies should examine the influence of cooking practices as well as other dietary habits on the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1115-1125
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cholesterol
  • Dairy products
  • Fats
  • Meat
  • Pancreatic neoplasms

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