Our aim was to examine the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and lung cancer mortality in a cohort of European males. Around 1970, dietary intake of Finnish, Italian and Dutch middle-aged men was assessed using a cross-check dietary history. Complete baseline information was available for 3,108 men, of whom 1,578 were baseline smokers. We used Cox proportional hazard analyses to calculate risk estimates for the consumption in country-specific tertiles on lung cancer in smokers. During 25 years of follow-up, 149 lung cancer deaths occurred in the smokers. Fruit consumption was inversely associated with lung cancer mortality among smokers; compared with the lowest, adjusted RRs for the intermediate and highest tertiles were 0.56 (0.37-0.84) and 0.69 (0.46-1.02), p-trend 0.05. Only in the Dutch cohort was this association statistically significant [adjusted relative risks (RRs) 1.00, 0.33 (0.16-0.70) and 0.35 (0.16-0.74), p-trend 0.004]. In Finland lung cancer risk was lower with higher fruit intake but not significantly, whereas in Italy no association was observed. Stratifying on cigarette smoking intensity (non, light and heavy) revealed an inverse association in the heavy smokers only [adjusted RRs (95% confidence intervals [CI]) 1; 0.47 (0.26-0.84); 0.40 (0.20-0.78)). Vegetable consumption was not related to lung cancer risk in smokers. However, analyses stratified on cigarette smoking intensity gave some indication for a lower lung cancer risk with higher intake. In conclusion, in this prospective analysis among European smoking men, fruit intake was inversely related to lung cancer mortality. This association was confined to heavy cigarette smokers.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.