, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp 1153-1167
Date: 01 Sep 2007

Pancreatic cancer, animal protein and dietary fat in a population-based study, San Francisco Bay Area, California

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The associations between animal protein or fat and risk of pancreatic cancer have been reported previously with inconsistent results. A population-based case–control study of pancreatic cancer was conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area to examine these associations.


A semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire was administered to 532 cases and 1,701 controls between 1995 and 1999. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed as estimates of the relative risk of pancreatic cancer.


When comparing highest versus lowest levels of intake in multivariable adjusted models, positive associations were observed for several beef/lamb and individual animal protein items, including beef/lamb as a main dish (OR = 2.2, 95% CI: 1.0–4.5), regular hamburger (OR = 1.7, 95% CI: 1.2–2.4), whole eggs (OR = 1.6, 95% CI: 1.0–2.4), butter (OR = 2.4, 95% CI: 1.6–3.5), and total dairy not including butter (OR = 2.6, 95% CI: 1.8–3.7). Some high-fat/processed-meat products (i.e., sausage, salami, bacon), but not all (i.e., beef, pork, or poultry hot dogs), also were positively associated with risk. An inverse association was noted for greater chicken/turkey consumption (OR = 0.7, 95% CI: 0.5–1.0). The risk comparing the highest versus lowest quartiles for fats and cholesterol consumption were: total fat (OR = 1.6, 95% CI: 1.2–2.1); animal fat (OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.4–2.5); saturated fat (OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.4–2.6); monounsaturated fat (OR = 1.3, 95% CI: 1.0–1.8); and dietary cholesterol (OR = 1.5, 95% CI: 1.1–2.0, all p-trends ≤ 0.02).


These data provide some evidence that beef or lamb, eggs, dairy, fat, or cholesterol may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.