Association between meat and saturated fatty acid intake and lung cancer risk: The Japan Public Health Center-based prospective study

Int J Cancer. 2020 Dec 1;147(11):3019-3028. doi: 10.1002/ijc.33112. Epub 2020 Jun 5.


Red meat or saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake has been reported to increase lung cancer (LC) risk in several western countries. However, in Asia, studies on the relationship between meat and SFA intake with LC incidence are still relatively insufficient, and their conclusions are inconsistent. We investigated the association of meat and SFA intake with LC incidence in a population-based prospective cohort study in Japan. Cox regression was used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for LC risk according to meat intake and SFA intake. A total of 73 187 participants (32 934 men and 40 253 women) aged 45 to 74 years participated in our study. During the follow-up period of 1 151 839 person-years (median, 16.0 year) from 1995 to 2013 for Cohort I and from 1998 to 2013 for Cohort II, 1315 (901 men and 414 women) newly diagnosed cases of LC were identified. In men, we found an adverse association between total red meat intake (HR and 95% CI: 1.25 [1.02-1.53]; Ptrend = .008) and LC risk. Additionally, borderline statistically significant elevated risks of LC were seen with high intake of unprocessed red meat and processed red meat. However, no positive association between total red meat intake and LC risk was observed in women. In contrast, poultry and fish intake were not associated with LC risk in either men or women. We concluded that a high total intake of total red meat was associated with moderately elevated LC risk in men.

Keywords: SFA intake; lung cancer risk; poultry and fish intake; prospective cohort study; total red meat intake.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Fishes
  • Food Quality
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poultry
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Red Meat / adverse effects*


  • Fatty Acids