We present the main findings observed to date from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) on dietary factors associated with the most frequent cancer sites.
Methods: EPIC is a multicentre prospective study carried out in 23 centres in 10 European countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, including 519,978 participants (366,521 women and 153,457 men), most aged 35-70 years.
Results: We observed the following significant associations: gastric cancer risk was inversely associated with high plasma vitamin C, some carotenoids, retinol and α-tocopherol, high intake of cereal fibre and high adhesion to Mediterranean diet, while red and processed meat were associated with increased risk. High intake of dietary fibre, fish, calcium, and plasma vitamin D were associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer, while red and processed meat intake, alcohol intake, body mass index (BMI) and abdominal obesity were associated with an increased risk. High intake of fruit and vegetables in current smokers were associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer. An increased risk of breast cancer was associated with high saturated fat intake and alcohol intake. In postmenopausal women, BMI was positively and physical activity negatively associated with breast cancer risk. High intake of dairy protein and calcium from dairy products and high serum concentration of IGF-I were associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. These results contribute to scientific evidence for appropriate public health strategies and prevention activities aimed at reducing the global cancer burden.
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