Flavonoids and the risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer: A case-control study from Italy

Marta Rossi, Werner Garavello, Renato Talamini, Eva Negri, Cristina Bosetti, Luigino Dal Maso, Pagona Lagiou, Alessandra Tavani, Jerry Polesel, Luigi Barzan, Valerio Ramazzotti, Silvia Franceschi, Carlo La Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The intake of flavonoids has been inversely related to the risk of various common neoplasms, but scanty data exist on oral and pharyngeal cancer. We used data from a case-control study conducted in Italy between 1992 and 2005 to examine the relationship between flavonoid intake and oral and pharyngeal cancer risk. The study included 805 cases with incident, histologically confirmed oral and pharyngeal cancer, and 2,081 hospital controls admitted for acute, nonneoplastic conditions. We have applied data on food and beverage content of six major classes of flavonoids, on dietary information collected through a validated food-frequency questionnaire. The odds ratios (OR) were calculated using multiple logistic regression models, conditioned on study center, sex, and age. After adjustment for education, tobacco, alcohol, body mass index, and non-alcohol energy intake, ORs for the highest versus the lowest quintile of intake were 0.51 [95% confidence intervals (95% CI), 0.37-0.71] for flavanones, 0.62 (CI, 0.43-0.89) for flavonols, and 0.56 (95% CI, 0.40-0.78) for total flavonoids. No significant association emerged for isoflavones (OR, 0.90), anthocyanidins (OR, 0.86), flavan-3-ols (OR, 0.84), and flavones (OR, 0.75). The ORs were consistent across strata of age, sex, education, body mass index, tobacco, and alcohol. After allowance for vegetable and fruit consumption, the inverse relations with total flavonoids and flavanones remained significant, whereas that with flavonols became nonsignificant. None of the associations were significant after further allowance for vitamin C, probably on account of the high collinearity between these compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1621-1625
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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