Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 664–673 | Cite as

Meat Consumption Is Associated with Esophageal Cancer Risk in a Meat- and Cancer-Histological-Type Dependent Manner

  • Hong-Cheng Zhu
  • Xi Yang
  • Li-Ping Xu
  • Lian-Jun Zhao
  • Guang-Zhou Tao
  • Chi Zhang
  • Qin Qin
  • Jing Cai
  • Jian-Xin Ma
  • Wei-Dong Mao
  • Xi-Zhi Zhang
  • Hong-Yan ChengEmail author
  • Xin-Chen SunEmail author
Original Article



We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of meat intake and esophageal cancer risk, with subgroup analyses based on meat type and histological type of cancer.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between meat intake and risk of esophageal cancer.


We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library (April 2013) for cohort and case–control studies that assessed meat intake and esophageal cancer risk. Random-effect or fixed-effect models were used to pool relative risks (RRs) from individual studies with heterogeneity and publication bias analyses carried out. Seven cohort and 28 case–control studies were included.


The summary RRs for esophageal cancer for the highest versus lowest consumption categories were 1.19 (95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.98–1.46) for total meat, 1.55 (95 % CI 1.22–1.96) for red meat, 1.33 (95 % CI 1.04–1.69) for processed meat, 0.72 (95 % CI 0.60–0.86) for white meat, 0.83 (95 % CI 0.72–0.96) for poultry, and 0.95 (95 % CI 0.76–1.19) for fish. When striated by histological subtype, positive associations were seen among esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and red meat, white meat and poultry, and esophageal adenocarcinoma with total meat and processed meat.


Meat consumption is associated with esophageal cancer risk, which depends on meat type and histological type of esophageal cancer. High intake of red meat and low intake of poultry are associated with an increased risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. High meat intake, especially processed meat, is likely to increase esophageal adenocarcinoma risk. And fish consumption may not be associated with incidence of esophageal cancer.


Meat Fish Esophageal cancer Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma Esophageal adenocarcinoma Meta-analysis 



This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81272504), Innovation Team [No. LJ201123 (EH11)], Jiangsu Provincial Science and Technology Projects [BK2011854 (DA11)], research grants from the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology [T-H2010-033 (KA10)], the introduction of talent of Jiangsu Province Hospital [NA11(2011)], A Project Funded by the Prority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD) (JX10231801), and grants from Key Academic Discipline of Jiangsu Province “Medical Aspects of Specific Environments”.

Conflict of interest


Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 48 kb)
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Supplementary material 5 (DOC 204 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hong-Cheng Zhu
    • 1
  • Xi Yang
    • 1
  • Li-Ping Xu
    • 1
  • Lian-Jun Zhao
    • 2
  • Guang-Zhou Tao
    • 3
  • Chi Zhang
    • 1
  • Qin Qin
    • 1
  • Jing Cai
    • 4
  • Jian-Xin Ma
    • 5
  • Wei-Dong Mao
    • 6
  • Xi-Zhi Zhang
    • 7
  • Hong-Yan Cheng
    • 8
    Email author
  • Xin-Chen Sun
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Radiation OncologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.The Comprehensive Cancer CenterNanjing Drum Tower Hospital and Clinical College of Nanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Department of Radiation Oncology, Huai’an First People’s HospitalNanjing Medical UniversityHuai’anChina
  4. 4.Tumor InstituteNantong Tumor HospitalNantongChina
  5. 5.Second People’s Hospital of LianyungangLianyungangChina
  6. 6.Department of OncologyThe Affiliated Jiangyin Hospital of Southeast University Medical CollegeWuxiChina
  7. 7.Department of Medical Oncology, Subei People’s Hospital of Jiangsu ProvinceClinical Medical College of Yangzhou UniversityYangzhouChina
  8. 8.Department of Synthetic Internal MedicineThe First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina

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