Association between Meat, Fish, and Fatty Acid Intake and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Incidence: The Japan Public Health Center-Based Prospective Study

J Nutr. 2022 Aug 9;152(8):1895-1906. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxac122.


Background: Meat, fish, and fatty acid intakes have been reported to be associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), although results have been inconclusive. We hypothesized that red meat and SFA intakes increase NHL risk, and fish and PUFA intakes decrease NHL risk.

Objectives: We investigated the association between NHL incidence and meat, fish, and various fatty acid type intakes using the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study.

Methods: The current cohort study included 93,366 participants aged 45-74 y who were eligible for analysis; they were followed up until December 2012. Participants answered an FFQ between 1995 and 1999. We analyzed the effects of meat, fish, total fatty acid, SFA, and PUFA intakes on NHL incidence using the Cox proportional hazard model.

Results: The median age was 57 y (IQR: 51-63 y), and 46.5% of the participants were men. Participants were followed up for 1,345,001 person-years, and 230 patients with NHL were identified. Total fatty acid and SFA intakes were associated with an increased incidence of NHL, with an adjusted HR of 1.56 (95% CI: 1.04, 2.34 highest compared with lowest quartile; P-trend = 0.062), and 1.63 (95% CI: 1.11, 2.41; P-trend = 0.074), respectively. In subtype analysis, total fatty acid and SFA intakes were also associated with increased incidence of follicular lymphoma but were not significantly associated with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Conversely, total meat, processed meat, unprocessed meat, red meat, poultry, fish, MUFA, PUFA, n-3 (ω-3) PUFA, and n-6 (ω-6) PUFA intakes were not significantly associated with the incidence of NHL or its subtypes.

Conclusions: Total fatty acid and SFA intakes were associated with increased incidence of NHL in the Japanese adult population. Further large-scale studies are warranted to test whether fatty acid intakes affect the development of NHL.

Keywords: Japan Public Health Center–based Prospective Study; fatty acid; fish; meat; non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3*
  • Fishes
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin* / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin* / etiology
  • Meat
  • Prospective Studies
  • Public Health
  • Risk Factors


  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3