Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (FODMAPs) and Cancer Risk in the Prospective NutriNet-Santé Cohort

J Nutr. 2022 Apr 1;152(4):1059-1069. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxab379.


Background: Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) have been shown to be involved in gastrointestinal disorders. In view of their proinflammatory potential and their interactions with the gut microbiota, their contribution to the etiology of other chronic diseases such as cancer has been postulated. However, to our knowledge, no epidemiologic study has investigated this hypothesis so far.

Objectives: Our objective was to investigate the associations between FODMAP intake (total and by type) and cancer risk (overall, breast, prostate, and colorectal) in a large prospective cohort.

Methods: The study was based on the NutriNet-Santé cohort (2009-2020); 104,909 adult participants without cancer at baseline were included in our analyses (median follow-up time = 7.7 y, 78.7% women, mean ± SD age at baseline 42.1 ± 14.5 y). Baseline dietary intakes were obtained from repeated 24-h dietary records linked to a detailed food composition table. Associations between FODMAP intake (expressed in quintiles, Q) and cancer risks were assessed by Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for a large range of lifestyle, sociodemographic, and anthropometric variables.

Results: Total FODMAP intake was associated with increased overall cancer risk (n = 3374 incident cases, HR for sex-specific Q5 compared with Q1: 1.21; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.44; P-trend = 0.04). In particular, oligosaccharides were associated with cancer risk: a trend was observed for overall cancer (HR Q5 compared with Q1: 1.10; 95% CI: 0.97, 1.25; P-trend = 0.04) and colorectal cancer (n = 272, HR Q5 compared with Q1: 1.78; 95% CI: 1.13-2.79; P-trend = 0.02).

Conclusions: Results from this large population-based study on French adults from the NutriNet-Santé cohort show a significant association between FODMAP intake and the risk of cancer development. Further epidemiologic and experimental studies are needed to confirm these results and provide data on the potential underlying mechanisms.

Keywords: FODMAPs; cancer risk; colorectal cancer; oligosaccharides; prospective cohort.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet
  • Disaccharides / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Fermentation
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome*
  • Male
  • Monosaccharides / adverse effects
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Oligosaccharides / adverse effects
  • Polymers
  • Prospective Studies


  • Disaccharides
  • Monosaccharides
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Polymers
  • polyol