Dietary intake of heterocyclic amines and benzo(a)pyrene: associations with pancreatic cancer

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Sep;14(9):2261-5. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-04-0514.


Objective: Heterocyclic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, formed in temperature- and time-dependent manners during the cooking of meat, are mutagens and carcinogens. We sought to assess the association between dietary intake of HCA and benzo(a)pyrene [B(a)P] and exocrine pancreatic cancer in a population-based case-control study.

Methods: Subjects (193 cases and 674 controls) provided information on their usual meat intake and preparation method, e.g., stewed, fried, or grilled/barbecued, etc. Meat doneness preferences were measured using photographs that showed internal doneness and external brownness. We used a meat-derived HCA, B(a)P, and mutagen database with a questionnaire to estimate intake of PhIP, DiMeIQx, MeIQx, B(a)P, and mutagenic activity (revertants/g of daily meat intake). Data were analyzed with unconditional logistic regression.

Results: In analyses adjusted for age, sex, smoking, education, race, and diabetes, the odds ratio and 95% confidence interval for the highest compared with the lowest quintile were as follows: PhIP, 1.8 (1.0-3.1); DiMeIQx, 2.0 (1.2-3.5); MeIQx, 1.5 (0.9-2.7); B(a)P, 2.2 (1.2-4.0); and mutagenic activity, 2.4 (1.3-4.3).

Conclusions: HCAs and B(a)P from well-done barbecued and pan-fried meats may be associated with increased risk for pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Benzo(a)pyrene / adverse effects*
  • Biogenic Amines / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cooking
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Biogenic Amines
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Benzo(a)pyrene