Inverse Association between Dietary Iron Intake and Gastric Cancer: A Pooled Analysis of Case-Control Studies of the Stop Consortium

Nutrients. 2022 Jun 20;14(12):2555. doi: 10.3390/nu14122555.


Background: Inconsistent findings have been reported regarding the relationship between dietary iron intake and the risk of gastric cancer (GC). Methods: We pooled data from 11 case-control studies from the Stomach Cancer Pooling (StoP) Project. Total dietary iron intake was derived from food frequency questionnaires combined with national nutritional tables. We derived the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for quartiles of dietary iron through multivariable unconditional logistic regression models. Secondary analyses stratified by sex, smoking status, caloric intake, anatomical subsite and histological type were performed. Results: Among 4658 cases and 12247 controls, dietary iron intake was inversely associated with GC (per quartile OR 0.88; 95% CI: 0.83-0.93). Results were similar between cardia (OR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.77-0.94) and non-cardia GC (OR = 0.87, 95% CI = 0.81-0.94), and for diffuse (OR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.69-0.89) and intestinal type (OR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.79-0.98). Iron intake exerted an independent effect from that of smoking and salt intake. Additional adjustment by meat and fruit/vegetable intake did not alter the results. Conclusions: Dietary iron is inversely related to GC, with no difference by subsite or histological type. While the results should be interpreted with caution, they provide evidence against a direct effect of iron in gastric carcinogenesis.

Keywords: cancer subsites; cancer subtypes; diet; gastric cancer; iron.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Iron
  • Iron, Dietary
  • Risk Factors
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / etiology


  • Iron, Dietary
  • Iron