Red and processed meat consumption and risk of bladder cancer: a dose-response meta-analysis of epidemiological studies

Eur J Nutr. 2018 Mar;57(2):689-701. doi: 10.1007/s00394-016-1356-0. Epub 2016 Dec 22.


Background/objectives: Several epidemiological studies have analyzed the associations between red and processed meat and bladder cancer risk but the shape and strength of the associations are still unclear. Therefore, we conducted a dose-response meta-analysis to quantify the potential association between red and processed meat and bladder cancer risk.

Methods: Relevant studies were identified by searching the PubMed database through January 2016 and reviewing the reference lists of the retrieved articles. Results were combined using random-effects models.

Results: Five cohort studies with 3262 cases and 1,038,787 participants and 8 cases-control studies with 7009 cases and 27,240 participants met the inclusion criteria. Red meat was linearly associated with bladder cancer risk in case-control studies, with a pooled RR of 1.51 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13, 2.02) for every 100 g increase per day, while no association was observed among cohort studies (P heterogeneity across study design = 0.02). Based on both case-control and cohort studies, the pooled relative risk (RR) for every 50 g increase of processed meat per day was 1.20 (95% CI 1.06, 1.37) (P heterogeneity across study design = 0.22).

Conclusions: This meta-analysis suggests that processed meat may be positively associated with bladder cancer risk. A positive association between red meat and risk of bladder cancer was observed only in case-control studies, while no association was observe in prospective studies.

Keywords: Bladder cancer; Dose–response; Meta-analysis; Processed meat; Red meat.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Food, Preserved / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Meat / adverse effects*
  • Meat Products / adverse effects*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Sheep, Domestic
  • Sus scrofa
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / etiology*