Cancer Causes & Control

, 22:1405 | Cite as

Dietary fiber and grain consumption in relation to head and neck cancer in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study

  • Tram Kim LamEmail author
  • Amanda J. Cross
  • Neal Freedman
  • Yikyung Park
  • Albert R. Hollenbeck
  • Arthur Schatzkin
  • Christian Abnet
Original paper



Dietary fiber and grain consumption may reduce the risk of head and neck cancer; however, the epidemiological evidence is limited. We investigated this relationship in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health Study.


Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate multivariable hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) to investigate dietary fiber and grain intake in relation to head and neck cancer.


During approximately 11 years of follow-up, 1,867 (401 women/1,466 men) cases of head and neck cancer were diagnosed. Our data indicated that the relationship between fiber and grain intake and head and neck cancer is modified by sex (p-interactions < 0.001 and 0.001, respectively). Women with higher intake of total fiber and total grains had a lower risk of head and neck cancer (HR10g/day = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.64–0.93; HRserving/1,000kcal = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.80–0.99, respectively); this inverse relation was consistent across subtypes of fiber and grains. Conversely in men, the inverse associations were weaker and nonsignificant.


In the largest prospective cohort study to investigate this relation to date, intake of total fiber and grain foods was inversely associated with head and neck cancer incidence among women, but not among men.


Diet Fiber Grains Head and neck cancer Prospective study 



This research was supported [in part] by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, National Cancer Institute. Cancer incidence data from the Atlanta metropolitan area were collected by the Georgia Center for Cancer Statistics, Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. Cancer incidence data from California were collected by the California Department of Health Services, Cancer Surveillance Section. Cancer incidence data from the Detroit metropolitan area were collected by the Michigan Cancer Surveillance Program, Community Health Administration, State of Michigan. The Florida cancer incidence data used in this report were collected by the Florida Cancer Data System (FCDC) under contract with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). The views expressed herein are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the FCDC or FDOH. Cancer incidence data from Louisiana were collected by the Louisiana Tumor Registry, Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans. Cancer incidence data from New Jersey were collected by the New Jersey State Cancer Registry, Cancer Epidemiology Services, New Jersey State Department of Health and Senior Services. Cancer incidence data from North Carolina were collected by the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry. Cancer incidence data from Pennsylvania were supplied by the Division of Health Statistics and Research, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Health specifically disclaims responsibility for any analyses, interpretations, or conclusions. Cancer incidence data from Arizona were collected by the Arizona Cancer Registry, Division of Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services. Cancer incidence data from Texas were collected by the Texas Cancer Registry, Cancer Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, Texas Department of State Health Services. We are indebted to the participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study for their outstanding cooperation. We also thank Sigurd Hermansen and Kerry Grace Morrissey from Westat for study outcomes ascertainment and management and Leslie Carroll at Information Management Services for data support and analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA)  2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tram Kim Lam
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Amanda J. Cross
    • 3
  • Neal Freedman
    • 3
  • Yikyung Park
    • 3
  • Albert R. Hollenbeck
    • 4
  • Arthur Schatzkin
    • 3
  • Christian Abnet
    • 3
  1. 1.Genetic Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG)National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH)RockvilleUSA
  2. 2.Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, Office of DirectorsNCI, NIHRockvilleUSA
  3. 3.Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, DCEGNCI, NIHRockvilleUSA
  4. 4.AARPWashingtonUSA

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