Background: The evidence about nitrosamines and heme iron intake and cancer risk is limited, despite the biologic plausibility of the hypothesis that these factors might increase cancer risk. We investigated the association between dietary nitrosamines and heme iron and the risk of prostate cancer among participants of European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Methods: Data on food consumption and complete follow-up for cancer occurrence was available for 139,005 men, recruited in 8 European countries. Estimates of HRs were obtained by proportional hazard models, stratified by age at recruitment, and study center, and adjusted for total energy intake, smoking status, marital status, dairy products, educational level, and body mass index.
Results: After a mean follow-up of 10 years, 4,606 participants were diagnosed with first incident prostate cancer. There was no overall association between prostate cancer risk and nitrosamines exposure (preformed and endogenous) or heme iron intake (HR for a doubling of intake: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.98-1.03 for N-Nitrosodimethlyamine, 0.95; 95% CI: 0.88-1.03 for endogenous Nitrosocompounds, and 1.00; 95 CI: 0.97-1.03 for heme iron).
Conclusions and impact: Our findings do not support an effect of nitrosamines (endogenous and exogenous) and heme iron intake on prostate cancer risk.