The relationship between preference for food temperature and the risk of stomach cancer was analysed using data from a case-control study conducted in Northern Italy on 563 histologically confirmed incident gastric cancers and 1,501 controls admitted to hospital for acute, non-neoplastic, non-digestive tract disorders. A specific question was related to food temperature, subjectively defined as 'warm', 'hot' or 'very hot'. Compared with subjects indicating preference for 'warm' foods, the relative risk (RR) was 1.1 (95% confidence interval, CI, 0.9-1.4) for 'hot' and 1.8 (95% CI = 1.3-2.4) for 'very hot'. The test for trend in risk was statistically significant, and the results were not appreciably modified by allowance for a number of identified potential distorting factors. The elevated risk, however, appeared to be restricted to the 17% of cases reporting a preference for 'very hot' foods. This may be due to an absence of substantial misclassification between 'warm' and 'very hot', but also to the existence of a threshold temperature, below which no appreciable thermal irritation is evident. Thus, although the difficulties and uncertainties on measures of food temperature are substantial, these data suggest that thermal irritation may have a role in gastric carcinogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research