Background: Whether fruit and vegetable consumption may confer protection from gastric cancer remains controversial.
Methods: We prospectively investigated the association between consumption of fruits and vegetables and the incidence of gastric cancer among participants from two population-based cohort studies: 36,664 women in the Swedish Mammography Cohort and 45,338 men in the Cohort of Swedish Men. Participants completed a food-frequency questionnaire in 1997 and were followed up for cancer incidence through June 2005. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate multivariate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).
Results: During a mean follow-up of 7.2 years, we ascertained 139 incident cases of gastric cancer. Vegetable consumption was inversely associated with risk of gastric cancer, whereas no significant association was observed for fruit consumption. After controlling for age and other risk factors, women and men who consumed > or =2.5 servings/d of vegetables had a HR of 0.56 (95% CI, 0.34-0.93) for developing gastric cancer compared with those who consumed <1 serving/d. The respective HR for fruit consumption was 0.86 (95% CI, 0.52-1.43). Among specific subgroups of vegetables, consumption of green leafy vegetables and root vegetables was inversely associated with risk of gastric cancer; the multivariate HRs comparing > or =3 servings/wk with <0.5 serving/wk were 0.64 (95% CI, 0.42-0.99) for green leafy vegetables and 0.43 (95% CI, 0.27-0.69) for root vegetables.
Conclusions: Frequent consumption of vegetables may reduce the risk of gastric cancer.