Flavonoids and bladder cancer risk

Cancer Causes Control. 2019 May;30(5):527-535. doi: 10.1007/s10552-019-01158-2. Epub 2019 Mar 22.


Purpose: Flavonoids have drawn attention because of their antioxidant capacity and anti-carcinogenic effect in various types of cancer. A limited number of studies has investigated their potential effect on the risk of bladder cancer, with inconsistent results.

Methods: We analyzed data from an Italian case-control study including 690 incident bladder cancer cases and 665 controls admitted to the same network of hospitals for acute, non-neoplastic, non tobacco-related diseases. Subjects were interviewed using a reproducible and validated food-frequency questionnaire. We applied data on food and beverage composition to estimate the intake of isoflavones, anthocyanidins, flavan-3-ols, flavanones, flavones and flavonols. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) through multiple logistic regression models, including terms for potential confounding factors, including tobacco smoking and total energy intake.

Results: We found an inverse association between isoflavones (OR for the highest compared to the lowest quintile of intake = 0.56, 95% CI 0.37-0.84) and flavones (OR = 0.64, 95% CI 0.44-0.95) and bladder cancer. Non-significant inverse association was found for flavan-3-ols (OR = 0.70), flavonols (OR = 0.85) and total flavonoids (OR = 0.76). The results were consistent for non-muscle-invasive and muscle-invasive bladder cancers.

Conclusions: Our data indicate an inverse association between isoflavones and flavones with respect to bladder cancer risk.

Keywords: Bladder cancer; Case–control study; Flavonoids; Risk factors.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anthocyanins / administration & dosage
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / administration & dosage
  • Italy
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / epidemiology*


  • Anthocyanins
  • Flavonoids
  • Isoflavones