Red meat consumption and stomach cancer risk: a meta-analysis

  • Peng Song
  • Ming Lu
  • Qin Yin
  • Lei Wu
  • Dong Zhang
  • Bo Fu
  • Baolin Wang
  • Qinghong ZhaoEmail author
Review - Clinical Oncology



The association of red meat consumption with the risk of stomach cancer has been reported by many studies, with inconclusive results. We performed a meta-analysis of cohort and case–control studies to provide a quantitative assessment of this association.


Relevant studies were identified by searching PubMed and Embase before December 2013 without restrictions. A total of 18 studies involving 1,228,327 subjects were included in this meta-analysis. Summary relative risks were estimated using random effects models.


The pooled relative risks of gastric cancer were 1.37 (95 % CI 1.18–1.59) for the highest versus lowest categories of red meat intake with significant heterogeneity among studies (P heterogeneity < 0.001, I 2 = 67.6 %). When stratified by the study design, the significant associations were observed in population-based case–control studies (RR 1.58; 95 % CI 1.22–2.06; P heterogeneity < 0.001, I 2 = 73.0 %) and hospital-based case–control studies (RR 1.63; 95 % CI 1.38–1.92; P heterogeneity = 0.284, I 2 = 19.1 %). However, no association was observed among cohort studies (RR 1.00; 95 % CI 0.83–1.20; P heterogeneity = 0.158, I 2 = 33.9 %). The significant association was also presented in the subgroup analysis by geographic area (Asia, Europe), publication year (≥2000), sample size (<1,000, ≥1,000) and quality score (<7 stars, ≥7 stars). The dose–response analysis associated every 100 g/day increment in red meat intake with a 17 % increased gastric cancer risk (RR 1.17; 95 % CI 1.05–1.32). A linear regression model further revealed that the risk of gastric cancer increased with increasing level of red meat consumption.


Increased intake of red meat might be a risk factor for stomach cancer. Further larger prospective studies are warranted to verify this association.


Red meat Stomach cancer Cancer prevention Meta-analysis 



P. S. and Q. Z. designed research; P. S. and M. L. performed research; P. S., Q. Z., Q. Y., L. W. analyzed data; P. S., Q. Z., L. W., D. Z., B. F., B. W. wrote the draft; all authors read, reviewed and approved the final manuscript. Q. Z. had primary responsibility for final content. We thank Zhizhong Zhang (Department of Neurology, Jinling Hospital, Nanjing University School of Medicine, Jiangsu Province, China) for critical reviewing and language editing the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Supplementary material

432_2014_1637_MOESM1_ESM.doc (56 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 55 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peng Song
    • 1
  • Ming Lu
    • 1
  • Qin Yin
    • 2
  • Lei Wu
    • 3
  • Dong Zhang
    • 1
  • Bo Fu
    • 1
  • Baolin Wang
    • 1
  • Qinghong Zhao
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of General SurgeryThe Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Medical Center of PediatricsThe Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Department of Laboratory MedicineThe First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina

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