Objective: Folate and other methyl-group nutrients may play a key role in pancreatic carcinogenesis through their effects on DNA integrity. We examined the association between pancreatic cancer and intake of folate, vitamins B(6), B(12) and methionine in a large population-based case-control study.
Methods: Risk factor data were collected during in-person interviews with 532 pancreatic cancer cases diagnosed in 1995-1999 and 1,701 frequency-matched controls in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dietary history and supplement use were obtained using a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire developed at Harvard University. Adjusted unconditional logistic regression was used to compute odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) as estimates of the relative risk.
Results: Total folate intake was inversely associated with pancreatic cancer (5th vs. 1st quintile: OR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.48-0.93, p (trend) = 0.04). Increased vitamin B(12) from food was positively associated with pancreatic cancer although risk estimates for quintiles 3-5 were similar (5th vs. 1st quintile: OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3-2.6, p (trend) = 0.001). Intake of vitamin B(6) or methionine was not associated with pancreatic cancer risk.
Conclusions: Our study provided some support for an inverse association between folate intake and pancreatic cancer risk. The increased pancreatic cancer risk with vitamin B(12) intake from food warrants further investigation.