Intakes of fruit, vegetables, and specific botanical groups in relation to lung cancer risk in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study

Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Nov 1;168(9):1024-34. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwn212. Epub 2008 Sep 12.


Increased fruit and vegetable consumption may protect against lung cancer, although epidemiologic findings are inconclusive. The authors prospectively examined associations between lung cancer risk and intakes of fruit, vegetables, and botanical subgroups in 472,081 participants aged 50-71 years in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health Study. Diet was assessed at baseline (1995-1996) with a 124-item dietary questionnaire. A total of 6,035 incident lung cancer cases were identified between 1995 and 2003. Total fruit and vegetable intake was unrelated to lung cancer risk in both men and women. Higher consumption of several botanical subgroups, however, was significantly inversely associated with risk, but only in men. For example, the relative risks of lung cancer among men in the highest versus lowest quintiles of intake of rosaceae, convolvulaceae, and umbelliferae were 0.82 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.73, 0.91), 0.86 (95% CI: 0.75, 0.96), and 0.86 (95% CI: 0.78, 0.96), respectively; corresponding relative risks in women were 0.97 (95% CI: 0.85, 1.12), 0.95 (95% CI: 0.83, 1.09), and 0.92 (95% CI: 0.80, 1.06). These results provide support for a protective role of specific botanical subgroups of fruits and vegetables in lung cancer prevention in men, although the findings could also be due to residual confounding by smoking or chance.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Registries
  • Risk
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vegetables*