Dietary and other methyl-group availability factors and pancreatic cancer risk in a cohort of male smokers

Am J Epidemiol. 2001 Apr 1;153(7):680-7. doi: 10.1093/aje/153.7.680.


The authors examined prospectively whether dietary folate and other factors known to influence methyl-group availability were associated with the development of exocrine pancreatic cancer within the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study cohort. Of the 27,101 healthy male smokers aged 50--69 years who completed a self-administered dietary questionnaire at baseline, 157 developed pancreatic cancer during up to 13 years of follow-up from 1985 to 1997. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the hazards ratios and 95% confidence intervals. The adjusted hazards ratio comparing the highest with the lowest quintile of dietary folate intake was 0.52 (95% confidence interval: 0.31, 0.87; p-trend = 0.05). Dietary methionine, alcohol intake, and smoking history did not modify this relation. No significant associations were observed between dietary methionine, vitamins B(6) and B(12), or alcohol intake and pancreatic cancer risk. Consistent with prior studies, this study shows that cigarette smoking was associated with an increased risk (highest compared with lowest quintile, cigarettes per day: hazards ratio = 1.82; 95% confidence interval: 1.10, 3.03; p-trend = 0.05). These results support the hypothesis that dietary folate intake is inversely associated with the risk of pancreatic cancer and confirm the risk associated with greater cigarette smoking.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Diet*
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Probability
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survival Rate
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage*
  • beta Carotene / administration & dosage*


  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin E