Objective: The associations between animal protein or fat and risk of pancreatic cancer have been reported previously with inconsistent results. A population-based case-control study of pancreatic cancer was conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area to examine these associations.
Methods: A semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire was administered to 532 cases and 1,701 controls between 1995 and 1999. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed as estimates of the relative risk of pancreatic cancer.
Results: When comparing highest versus lowest levels of intake in multivariable adjusted models, positive associations were observed for several beef/lamb and individual animal protein items, including beef/lamb as a main dish (OR = 2.2, 95% CI: 1.0-4.5), regular hamburger (OR = 1.7, 95% CI: 1.2-2.4), whole eggs (OR = 1.6, 95% CI: 1.0-2.4), butter (OR = 2.4, 95% CI: 1.6-3.5), and total dairy not including butter (OR = 2.6, 95% CI: 1.8-3.7). Some high-fat/processed-meat products (i.e., sausage, salami, bacon), but not all (i.e., beef, pork, or poultry hot dogs), also were positively associated with risk. An inverse association was noted for greater chicken/turkey consumption (OR = 0.7, 95% CI: 0.5-1.0). The risk comparing the highest versus lowest quartiles for fats and cholesterol consumption were: total fat (OR = 1.6, 95% CI: 1.2-2.1); animal fat (OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.4-2.5); saturated fat (OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.4-2.6); monounsaturated fat (OR = 1.3, 95% CI: 1.0-1.8); and dietary cholesterol (OR = 1.5, 95% CI: 1.1-2.0, all p-trends < or = 0.02).
Conclusions: These data provide some evidence that beef or lamb, eggs, dairy, fat, or cholesterol may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.