Dietary habits and risk of pancreatic cancer: An Italian case-control study

Jerry Polesel, Renato Talamini, Eva Negri, Cristina Bosetti, Giovanni Boz, Ersilia Lucenteforte, Silvia Franceschi, Diego Serraino, Carlo La Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To investigate the association between dietary habits and pancreatic cancer. Methods Between 1991 and 2008, we conducted a hospitalbased case-control study in northern Italy. Cases: 326 patients (median age 63 years) with incident pancreatic cancer admitted to general hospitals in the areas of Milan and Pordenone, northern Italy. Controls: 652 patients (median age 63 years) with acute non-neoplastic conditions admitted to the same hospital network of cases. Diet was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results Frequent meat consumption was associated to a twofold increased risk of pancreatic cancer (95% CI: 1.18-3.36); the risk was significant for meat cooked by boiling/ stewing or broiling/roasting. Added table sugar (OR = 2.23; 95% CI: 1.34-3.71) and potatoes (OR = 1.79; 95% CI: 1.12-2.86) were related to pancreatic cancer. An inverse association emerged for non-citrus fruits (OR = 0.41; 95% CI: 0.24-0.69), cooked vegetables (OR = 0.57; 95% CI: 0.36-0.92), and, possibly, for pulses (OR = 0.59; 95% CI: 0.35-1.00). Conclusions The present study supports an inverse association between fruits and vegetables and pancreatic cancer risk, and it confirms a direct relation with meat. The increased risk for table sugar suggests that insulin resistance may play a role in pancreatic carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-500
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Added sugar
  • Diet
  • Meat
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Risk factors
  • Vegetables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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