Flavonoid intake in relation to lung cancer risk: case-control study among women in Greece

Nutr Cancer. 2004;49(2):139-43. doi: 10.1207/s15327914nc4902_4.


We have examined the role of three classes of flavonoids that are relatively common in the Greek diet (flavanones, flavan-3-ols, and flavonols) in the etiology of lung cancer using data from a case-control study among women, which was undertaken in Athens, Greece, in the late 1980s. Study subjects were 154 women with lung cancer and 145 control women with orthopedic conditions. Women reported their life-long smoking histories and average frequency of consumption, before onset of present disease, of 47 food items or beverages that collectively covered >80% of the intake of each of the energy-providing nutrients. Intakes of flavonoids were calculated using the recently published U.S. Department of Agriculture database. The data were modeled through logistic regression, controlling for energy intake and smoking. There was no indication that intake of any of the studied flavonoid categories reduces the risk of lung cancer; indeed, for flavonols there was an unexpected positive association. Thus, our study does not indicate a protective effect of flavanones, flavan-3-ols, or flavonols on lung cancer risk and indicates that the factors responsible for the protective effect of vegetables and fruits against the risk of this cancer are unlikely to belong to these flavonoid categories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Flavanones / administration & dosage
  • Flavonoids / administration & dosage*
  • Flavonols / administration & dosage
  • Fruit
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Vegetables


  • Flavanones
  • Flavonoids
  • Flavonols
  • flavan-3-ol