OBJECTIVE: To assess and quantify the association between processed meat consumption and cancers of the breast, endometrium, ovary, and prostate.
METHODS: Data were derived from an integrated network of hospital-based case-control studies conducted between 1982 and 2006 in various Italian areas. These studies included 5981 cases of cancer of the breast, 992 of the endometrium, 2002 of the ovary, 1582 of the prostate, and a total of 16 394 controls with data on processed meat. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated by unconditional multiple logistic regression models, adjusted for major recognized confounders for each cancer site.
RESULTS: The median consumption of processed meat in this population was 2 portions per wk in each cancer-specific cases, controls, and overall, corresponding to 100 g/wk. The OR for the highest (≥20 g/d) compared with lowest (<10 g/d) category of processed meat consumption was 1.16 (95% CI 1.06-1.28) for breast, 1.31 (95% CI 1.07-1.60) for endometrial, 1.49 (95% CI 1.30-1.71) for ovarian, and 0.89 (95% CI 0.74-1.07) for prostate cancer.
CONCLUSION: In this case-control study, we found some excess risks of high processed meat consumption with female hormone-related cancers. Conversely, no association with prostate cancer was found in men.