Background: Endometrial cancer is associated with overweight, but little is known on its possible relationship with specific aspects of diet.
Methods: The relationship between dietary factors and the risk of endometrial cancer was investigated in a case-control study conducted in Switzerland and Northern Italy on 274 patients with histologically confirmed endometrial cancers and 572 control subjects admitted to the hospital for acute nongynecologic disorders that were not hormone related, metabolic, or neoplastic.
Results: Significant direct associations were observed with (1) the total energy intake (odds ratio [OR] for the highest versus the lowest consumption tertile = 2.7) and, after allowance for energy intake, (2) the frequency of consumption of most types of meats, eggs, beans or peas, added fats (OR for total added fat = 2.5), and sugar (OR = 2.5). Significant protection, of the order of 40-60% reduction in the highest versus the lowest consumption tertile, was conferred by elevated intake of most vegetables and fresh fruit and whole grain bread and pasta. This was reflected in the low OR for the highest tertiles of intake of beta-carotene and ascorbic acid (OR for the highest versus the lowest consumption tertile after allowance for energy intake = 0.5).
Conclusions: The current study suggests that, aside from the predictable adverse effects of overeating and consequent overweight, some qualitative aspects of the habitual diet may also be associated with the risk of endometrial cancer, chiefly, the intake of animal proteins and fat (directly) and of fresh fruit, vegetables, and fibers (inversely).