Cruciferous Vegetable Intake Is Inversely Associated with Lung Cancer Risk among Current Nonsmoking Men in the Japan Public Health Center (JPHC) Study

J Nutr. 2017 May;147(5):841-849. doi: 10.3945/jn.117.247494. Epub 2017 Apr 5.


Background: Cruciferous vegetables, a rich source of isothiocyanates, have been reported to lower the risk of several types of cancer, including lung cancer. However, evidence from prospective observations of populations with a relatively high intake of cruciferous vegetables is sparse.Objective: We investigated the association between cruciferous vegetable intake and lung cancer risk in a large-scale population-based prospective study in Japan.Methods: We studied 82,330 participants (38,663 men; 43,667 women) aged 45-74 y without a past history of cancer. Participants were asked to respond to a validated questionnaire that included 138 food items. The association between cruciferous vegetable intake and lung cancer incidence was assessed with the use of Cox proportional hazard regression analysis to estimate HRs and 95% CIs (with adjustments for potential confounding factors).Results: After 14.9 y of follow-up, a total of 1499 participants (1087 men; 412 women) were diagnosed with lung cancer. After deleting early-diagnosed cancer and adjusting for confounding factors, we observed a nonsignificant inverse trend between cruciferous vegetable intake and lung cancer risk in men in the highest compared with the lowest quartiles (multivariate HR: 0.85; 95% CI: 0.69, 1.06; P-trend = 0.13). Stratified analysis by smoking status revealed a significant inverse association between cruciferous vegetable intake and lung cancer risk among those who were never smokers and those who were past smokers after deleting lung cancer cases in the first 3 y of follow-up [multivariate HR for never smokers: 0.49 (95% CI: 0.27, 0.87; P-trend = 0.04); multivariate HR for past smokers: 0.59 (95% CI: 0.35, 0.99; P-trend = 0.10)]. No association was noted in men who were current smokers and women who were never smokers.Conclusion: This study suggests that cruciferous vegetable intake may be associated with a reduction in lung cancer risk among men who are currently nonsmokers.

Keywords: Japan; cruciferous vegetables; isothiocyanates; lung cancer; prospective study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brassicaceae* / chemistry
  • Diet*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates / therapeutic use
  • Japan
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Public Health
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables* / chemistry


  • Isothiocyanates