Red and Processed Meat Consumption Increases Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A PRISMA-Compliant Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies

Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Nov;94(45):e1729. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000001729.


The association between consumption of red and processed meat and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) remains unclear. We performed a meta-analysis of the published observational studies to explore this relationship.We searched databases in MEDLINE and EMBASE to identify observational studies which evaluated the association between consumption of red and processed meat and risk of NHL. Quality of included studies was evaluated using Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale (NOS). Random-effects models were used to calculate summary relative risk (SRR) and the corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI).We identified a total of 16 case-control and 4 prospective cohort studies, including 15,189 subjects with NHL. The SRR of NHL comparing the highest and lowest categories were 1.32 (95% CI: 1.12-1.55) for red meat and 1.17 (95% CI: 1.07-1.29) for processed meat intake. Stratified analysis indicated that a statistically significant risk association between consumption of red and processed meat and NHL risk was observed in case-control studies, but not in cohort studies. The SRR was 1.11 (95% CI: 1.04-1.18) for per 100 g/day increment in red meat intake and 1.28 (95% CI: 1.08-1.53) for per 50 g/day increment in processed meat intake. There was evidence of a nonlinear association for intake of processed meat, but not for intake of red meat.Findings from our meta-analysis indicate that consumption of red and processed meat may be related to NHL risk. More prospective epidemiological studies that control for important confounders and focus on the NHL risk related with different levels of meat consumption are required to clarify this association.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / etiology*
  • Meat*
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Risk Factors