In a hospital-based case-control study of pancreatic cancer conducted in Athens (1991-92), 181 patients with histologically confirmed cancer of the exocrine pancreas were compared with hospital patient controls and hospital visitor controls, individually matched to the cases by hospital, age, gender, and interviewer in a 1:1:1 ratio. All interviews were conducted in person in the respective hospitals. Diet was ascertained through a semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Nutrient intakes for individuals were estimated by multiplying the nutrient content of a selected typical portion-size for each specified food-item by the frequency that the food was used per month, and summing these estimates for all food items. Data were analyzed using conditional logistic regression, controlling for tobacco smoking and total energy intake as well as for mutual confounding influences among nutrients. Adjusted odds ratios (rate ratios) for pancreatic cancer, associated with particular nutritional variables, were expressed per increments approximately equal to the standard deviations of (the residual of) the respective nutrients, on a daily basis. The adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95 percent confidence intervals (CI) compared with other patient and visitor controls respectively, were: for polyunsaturated fat, OR = 1.32 (CI = 1.07-1.63) and 1.21 (CI = 0.98-1.49); and for crude fibre, OR = 0.80 (CI = 0.64-1.00) and 0.65 (CI = 0.50-0.86). No substantial, statistically significant or consistent, independent associations were noted for total energy, total protein, total fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, dietary cholesterol, total carbohydrates, sucrose, vitamin C, vitamin A, riboflavin, or calcium.