Adherence to Mediterranean diet: A comparison of patients with head and neck cancer and healthy population

Endocrinol Diabetes Nutr (Engl Ed). 2019 Aug-Sep;66(7):417-424. doi: 10.1016/j.endinu.2018.12.002. Epub 2019 Jan 23.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Background and objective: The traditional Mediterranean diet (MD) is associated to a lower risk of suffering multiple tumors. However, few studies have analyzed the relationship between MD and the risk of developing head and neck cancer (HNC). A case-control study comparing adherence to MD was conducted in patients diagnosed with HNC and healthy population.

Patients and methods: The level of adherence to MD was assessed using the 14-item MEDAS (Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener) questionnaire, used in the PREDIMED study, in patients diagnosed with HNC at 12de Octubre Hospital in Madrid (cases) and in healthy subjects enrolled in a nearby primary health care center (controls). Adherence was stratified based on the score as low (≤7points), medium (8-9points), and high (≥10points). The odds ratio (OR) for developing HNC was estimated based on different factors.

Results: A sample of 168 subjects (100 controls and 68 cases) was analyzed. Smoking (OR, 2.98 [95%CI: 1.44-6.12]; P=.003) and alcohol consumption (OR, 2.72 [95%CI: 1.39-5.33], P=.003) were strongly associated to HNC. However, medium-high adherence to MD was associated to a lower risk of developing HNC (OR, 0.48 [95%CI: 0.20-1.07], P=.052).

Conclusions: Consistent medium-high adherence to MD contributes to decrease the risk of developing HNC.

Keywords: Cuestionario MEDAS; Cáncer de cabeza y cuello; Dieta mediterránea; Head and neck cancer; Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS) questionnaire; Mediterranean diet.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / prevention & control
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / prevention & control*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma / epidemiology
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma / prevention & control
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires