Dietary inflammatory index and risk of lung cancer and other respiratory conditions among heavy smokers in the COSMOS screening study

Patrick Maisonneuve, Nitin Shivappa, James R. Hébert, Massimo Bellomi, Cristiano Rampinelli, Raffaella Bertolotti, Lorenzo Spaggiari, Domenico Palli, Giulia Veronesi, Patrizia Gnagnarella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To test whether the inflammatory potential of diet, as measured using the dietary inflammatory index (DII), is associated with risk of lung cancer or other respiratory conditions and to compare results obtained with those based on the aMED score, an established dietary index that measures adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet. Methods: In 4336 heavy smokers enrolled in a prospective, non-randomized lung cancer screening program, we measured participants’ diets at baseline using a self-administered food frequency questionnaire from which dietary scores were calculated. Cox proportional hazards and logistic regression models were used to assess association between the dietary indices and lung cancer diagnosed during annual screening, and other respiratory outcomes that were recorded at baseline, respectively. Results: In multivariable analysis, adjusted for baseline lung cancer risk (estimated from age, sex, smoking history, and asbestos exposure) and total energy, both DII and aMED scores were associated with dyspnoea (p trend = 0.046 and 0.02, respectively) and radiological evidence of emphysema (p trend = 0.0002 and 0.02). After mutual adjustment of the two dietary scores, only the association between DII and radiological evidence of emphysema (Q4 vs. Q1, OR 1.30, 95 % CI 1.01–1.67, p trend = 0.012) remained statistically significant. At univariate analysis, both DII and aMED were associated with lung cancer risk, but in fully adjusted multivariate analysis, only the association with aMED remained statistically significant (p trend = 0.04). Conclusions: Among heavy smokers, a pro-inflammatory diet, as indicated by increasing DII score, is associated with dyspnoea and radiological evidence of emphysema. A traditional Mediterranean diet, which is associated with a lower DII, may lower lung cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 8 2015


  • Dietary inflammatory index
  • Dyspnoea
  • Emphysema
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung function
  • Mediterranean diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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