The relationship between frequency of intake of selected indicator foods, lymphoid neoplasms, and soft tissue sarcomas was investigated in an updated case-control study conducted in Northern Italy between 1983 and 1992 on 158 incident, histologically confirmed cases of Hodgkin's disease (HD), 429 cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), 141 cases of multiple myelomas, 101 cases of soft tissue sarcomas, and 1,157 controls admitted to hospital for acute, nonneoplastic diseases unrelated to long-term modifications of diet. Compared with the lowest tertile, the odds ratio (OR) for the highest tertile of milk intake was 1.8 for NHL and 1.9 for sarcomas. Liver intake was an indicator of the risk of HD (OR = 1.8), NHL (OR = 1.6), and myelomas (OR = 2.0), ham an indicator of HD (OR = 1.7), and butter an indicator of myelomas (OR = 2.8). A high consumption of green vegetables was inversely related to myelomas (OR = 0.4), and frequent use of whole-grain foods was inversely related to NHL (OR = 0.4) and soft tissue sarcomas (OR = 0.2). No material association with meat was observed for any of the neoplasms considered. Likewise, coffee and alcohol intakes were not associated with lymphoid neoplasms and soft tissue sarcomas. The OR for the highest tertile of intake of beta-carotene ranged between 0.5 and 0.7, whereas the OR for retinol ranged between 1.5 and 2.3. Although available data do not point to any specific inference, this study suggests that certain aspects of diet are a correlate or an indicator of the risk of lymphoid neoplasms and soft tissue sarcomas.