Red and processed meat consumption and the risk of esophageal and gastric cancer subtypes in The Netherlands Cohort Study

Ann Oncol. 2012 Sep;23(9):2319-2326. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr615. Epub 2012 Feb 20.


Background: Prospective data on red and processed meat in relation to risk of subtypes of esophageal and gastric cancer are scarce. We present analyses of association between red and processed meat and the risk of esophageal and gastric cancer subtypes within The Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer.

Design: 120 852 individuals aged 55-69 years were recruited in 1986, and meat intake was assessed using a 150-item food frequency questionnaire. After 16.3 years of follow-up, 107 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas, 145 esophageal adenocarcinomas, 163 gastric cardia adenocarcinomas, 489 gastric non-cardia adenocarcinomas, and 3923 subcohort members were included in a case-cohort analysis.

Results: Processed as well as red meat intake was positively associated with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in men. Hazard ratios for highest versus lowest quintile of processed and red meat were 3.47 [95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.21-9.94; P for trend: 0.04] and 2.66 (95% CI: 0.94-7.48; P for trend: 0.06), respectively. No association was seen for adenocarcinomas or gastric cancer subtypes or for any of the four subtypes among women.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that red and processed meat consumption is associated with increased risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in men but not with cancers of other esophageal and gastric subtypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology*
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology*
  • Cattle
  • Diet
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Female
  • Horses
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat Products / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Sheep
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stomach Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Sus scrofa