Review Papers

Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 147-156

First online:

Nutrition and laryngeal cancer

  • Ello RiboliAffiliated withInternational Agency for Research on Cancer
  • , Rudolf KaaksAffiliated withInternational Agency for Research on Cancer
  • , Jacques EstèveAffiliated withInternational Agency for Research on Cancer

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The main etiologic factors of cancers of the larynx and hypopharynx are alcohol and tobaeco, and their prevalence in different populations explains, to a large extent, the wide variations in incidence observed around the world. Besides these two main risk factors, however, diet also seems to play a role in determining the risk of these cancers. There is consistent evidence that low consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with higher risk, after statistical adjustment for alcohol and tobacco. Consumption of vegetable oils and fish and a moderately high polyunsaturated/saturated fatty acid ratio (P/S ratio) were reported to be associated with reduced risk. Low intake of vitamin C, β-carotene and vitamin E were reported consistently to be associated with higher laryngeal cancer risk, but there was no clear evidence that these micronutrients are better predictors of cancer risk than the principal food groups from which their intake levels were estimated, i.e., fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, and fish. Given the overwhelming role of tobacco and alcohol in the etiology of these cancers and the extremely low incidence among nonsmokers/nondrinkers, the available studies provide no estimate of the role of diet in subjects not exposed to these factors. The evidence indicates, however, that, in the presence of tobacco and/or alcohol, low intake of fruit and vegetables may account for 25 to 50 percent of the cases among men.

Key words

Diet epidemiology hypopharynx cancer larynx cancer review