Background: Although it has been hypothesized that hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance are involved in the development of pancreatic cancer, results from epidemiologic studies of added sugar intake are inconclusive.
Objective: Our objective was to investigate whether the consumption of total added sugar and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages is associated with pancreatic cancer risk.
Design: In 1995 and 1996, we prospectively examined 487 922 men and women aged 50-71 y and free of cancer and diabetes. Total added dietary sugar intake (in tsp/d; based on the US Department of Agriculture's Pyramid Servings Database) was assessed with a food-frequency questionnaire. Relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs were calculated with adjustment for total energy and potential confounding factors.
Results: During an average 7.2 y of follow-up, 1258 incident pancreatic cancer cases were ascertained. The median intakes for the lowest and highest quintiles of total added sugar intake were 12.6 (3 tsp/d) and 96.2 (22.9 tsp/d) g/d, respectively. No overall greater risk of pancreatic cancer was observed in men or women with high intake of total added sugar or sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. For men and women combined, the multivariate RRs of the highest versus lowest intake categories were 0.85 (95% CI: 0.68, 1.06; P for trend = 0.07) for total added sugar, 1.01 (0.82,1.23; P for trend = 0.58) for sweets, 0.98 (0.82,1.18; P for trend = 0.49) for dairy desserts, 1.12 (0.91,1.39; P for trend = 0.35) for sugar added to coffee and tea, and 1.01 (0.77,1.31; P for trend = 0.76) for regular soft drinks.
Conclusion: Our results do not support the hypothesis that consumption of added sugar or of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages is associated with overall risk of pancreatic cancer.