Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp 1153–1167 | Cite as

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

  • June M. Chan
  • Furong Wang
  • Elizabeth A. HollyEmail author
Original Paper



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.


Pancreatic neoplasm Case–control study Meat Dairy Fat 



Dr. Holly is principal investigator of this project, designed and implemented the study, and oversaw and worked closely with Drs. Chan and Wang on the analyses and writing of this report. Dr. Chan participated in the development of the analysis plan, provided expertise in nutritional epidemiology of cancer, and led the background research/reporting/writing of this project. Dr. Wang conducted all statistical analyses/programming and participated in the writing of this report.

Grant support: National Institutes of Health, NCI grants CA59706, CA89726, CA09889, CA108370, CA121846, the Rombauer Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and David J. Hasbun Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • June M. Chan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Furong Wang
    • 1
  • Elizabeth A. Holly
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of UrologyUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Research and PolicyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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