Objective: We examined the associations between sweets, sweetened and unsweetened beverages, and sugars and pancreatic cancer risk.
Methods: We conducted a population-based case-control study (532 cases, 1,701 controls) and used multivariate logistic regression models to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Because associations were often different by sex, we present results for men and women combined and separately.
Results: Among men, greater intakes of total and specific sweets were associated with pancreatic cancer risk (total sweets: OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.0, 3.6; sweet condiments: OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.2, 3.1; chocolate candy: OR = 2.4, 95% CI: 1.1, 5.0; other mixed candy bars: OR = 3.3, 95% CI: 1.5, 7.3 for 1 + servings/day versus none/rarely). Sweets were not consistently associated with risk among women. Sweetened beverages were not associated with increased pancreatic cancer risk. In contrast, low-calorie soft drinks were associated with increased risk among men only; while other low-/non-caloric beverages (e.g., coffee, tea, and water) were unassociated with risk. Of the three sugars assessed (lactose, fructose, and sucrose), only the milk sugar lactose was associated with pancreatic cancer risk (OR = 2.0, 95% CI: 1.5, 2.7 comparing extreme quartiles).
Conclusion: These results provide limited support for the hypothesis that sweets or sugars increase pancreatic cancer risk.