Dietary risk factors for upper aerodigestive tract cancers

Christine M. Kasum, David R. Jacobs, Kristin Nicodemus, Aaron R. Folsom

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93 Scopus citations


We examined the association between whole-grain intake and incident upper aerodigestive tract cancer in a cohort of 34,651 postmenopausal, initially cancer-free women. We also studied established risk factors for upper aerodigestive cancers, including fruit and vegetable intake, smoking and alcohol intake. A mailed questionnaire at baseline in 1986 included a food-frequency questionnaire and assessment of other cancer risk factors. During the 14-year follow-up period, 169 women developed cancer of the upper aerodigestive tract. For all upper aerodigestive cancers together, significant inverse associations were observed for the highest compared to the lowest tertile of whole grains [relative risk (RR) = 0.53, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.34-0.81] 0.811 and yellow/orange vegetables (RR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.39-0.87). In addition, those in the highest compared to lowest tertile of fiber intake from whole grain were less likely to develop upper aerodigestive tract cancer (RR = 0.56, 95% CI 0.37-0.84); fiber intake from refined grain was not significantly associated with upper aerodigestive tract cancer. Findings were generally similar for oropharyngeal (n = 53), laryngeal (n = 21), nasopharyngeal/salivary (n = 18), esophageal (n = 21) and gastric (n = 56) cancers, though numbers of cases were too small for statistical testing within individual cancers. These findings confirm previous observations that high intake of fruits and vegetables and that intake of whole grains and the fiber derived from them may reduce risk of upper aerodigestive tract cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-272
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 10 2002


  • Alcohol
  • Fiber
  • Nutrient
  • Smoking
  • Upper aerodigestive tract cancer
  • Whole grain


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