Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 193–201 | Cite as

Red and processed meat intake and risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma: a meta-analysis of observational studies

  • Wen Huang
  • Yujing Han
  • Jiping Xu
  • Wei Zhu
  • Zhaoshen LiEmail author
Original paper



Inconsistent results relating dietary red and processed meat intake and risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) have been reported. This article summarizes and quantifies the current evidence in a meta-analysis of observational studies.


Electronic search of MEDLINE and EMBASE databases was performed to identify peer-reviewed manuscripts up to 31 May 2012. Random-effects models were used to pool study results.


Ten manuscripts from 3 cohort studies and 7 case–control studies were identified. The summary relative risks (SRRs) of EAC for highest versus lowest intake categories were 1.31 (95 % confidence intervals [CIs]: 1.05–1.64) for red meat consumption, and 1.41 (95 % CIs 1.09–1.83) for processed meat consumption. Subgroup analyses indicated that these positive relations were seen in case–control studies, but not in cohort studies. Based on dose–response analysis, similar results were found; the SRRs were 1.45(95 % CIs 1.09–1.93) per 100 g/day of red meat intake and 1.37 (95 % CIs 1.03–1.81) per 50 g/day of processed meat intake.


The results of this meta-analysis indicate that consumption of red and processed meat may be associated with increased risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma. More studies, particularly prospective studies, are needed.


Esophageal adenocarcinoma Meta-analysis Red meat Processed meat 



Esophageal cancer


Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma


Esophageal adenocarcinoma


Summary relative risks


Confidence intervals


Body mass index


Gastroesophageal reflux


N-nitroso compounds


Heterocyclic amines


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Conflicts of interests

The authors disclose no conflicts of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wen Huang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yujing Han
    • 3
  • Jiping Xu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei Zhu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhaoshen Li
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of GastroenterologyChanghai Hospital of Second Military Medical UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Evidence-based MedicineSecond Military Medical UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of Preclinical Medicine, Cancer CenterSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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