Background: Increasing nut intake has been associated with reduced risk of diabetes mellitus, which is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.
Methods: We prospectively followed 75 680 women in the Nurses' Health Study, and examined the association between nut consumption and pancreatic cancer risk. Participants with a previous history of cancer were excluded. Nut consumption was assessed at baseline and updated every 2 to 4 years. Relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models.
Results: We documented 466 incident cases of pancreatic cancer. After adjusting for age, height, smoking, physical activity, and total energy intake, women who consumed a 28-g (1 oz) serving size of nuts ≥2 times per week experienced a significantly lower risk of pancreatic cancer (RR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.47-0.92; P for trend=0.007) when compared with those who largely abstained from nuts. The results did not appreciably change after further adjustment for body mass index (BMI) and history of diabetes mellitus (RR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.48-0.95; P for trend=0.01). The inverse association persisted within strata defined by BMI, physical activity, smoking, and intakes of red meat, fruits, and vegetables.
Conclusion: Frequent nut consumption is inversely associated with risk of pancreatic cancer in this large prospective cohort of women, independent of other potential risk factors for pancreatic cancer.