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Consumption of animal foods and endometrial cancer risk: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis

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This article summarizes and quantifies the current evidence relating dietary intake of animal products and endometrial cancer. Literature searches were conducted to identify peer-reviewed manuscripts published up to December 2006. Twenty-two manuscripts from three cohort studies and 16 case–control studies were identified. One of these cohort studies evaluated only fried meat and another only milk consumption; they were not included in our meta-analyses. The third cohort study identified did not present exposure levels and could not be included in dose–response meta-analysis. This cohort study did not show an association with meat or red meat consumption. Random-effects dose–response summary estimates for case–control studies evaluating these foods were 1.26 (95% CI: 1.03–1.54) per 100 g/day of total meat, 1.51 (95% CI: 1.19–1.93) per 100 g/day of red meat, 1.03 (95% CI: 0.32–3.28) per 100 g/day of poultry, 1.04 (95% CI: 0.55–1.98) per 100 g/day of fish, and 0.97 (95% CI: 0.93–1.01) per serving of dairy. Our meta-analysis, based on case–control data, suggests that meat consumption, particularly red meat, increases endometrial cancer risk. The current literature does not support an association with dairy products, while the evidence is inconsistent for poultry, fish, and eggs. More studies, particularly prospective studies, are needed.

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World Cancer Research Fund International


American Institute for Cancer Research


Systematic Literature Review


Odds Ratio


Relative Risk


Confidence Interval


Food Frequency Questionnaire


Body Mass Index


Hormone Replacement Therapy


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We would like to thank James Thomas for his valuable help with the data extraction Access® program.

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Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Elisa V. Bandera.

Additional information

This work was funded in part by the WCRF and NIH-K07 CA095666. Although this work was funded in part by WCRF, interpretation of the evidence may not represent the views of WCRF and our conclusions may differ from those in the 2007 WCRF report summarizing evidence related to food, nutrition, physical activity, and cancer risk.

Appendix 1: WCRF—Pubmed search strategy

Appendix 1: WCRF—Pubmed search strategy

  1. #1

    diet therapy[MeSH Terms] OR nutrition[MeSH Terms]

  2. #2

    diet[tiab] OR diets[tiab] OR dietetic[tiab] OR dietary[tiab] OR eating[tiab] OR intake[tiab] OR nutrient*[tiab] OR nutrition[tiab] OR vegetarian*[tiab] OR vegan*[tiab] OR “seventh day adventist”[tiab] OR macrobiotic[tiab] OR breastfeed*[tiab] OR breast feed*[tiab] OR breastfed[tiab] OR breast fed[tiab] OR breastmilk[tiab] OR breast milk[tiab]

  3. #3

    food and beverages[MeSH Terms]

  4. #4

    food*[tiab] OR cereal*[tiab] OR grain*[tiab] OR granary[tiab] OR wholegrain[tiab] OR wholewheat[tiab] OR roots[tiab] OR plantain*[tiab] OR tuber[tiab] OR tubers[tiab] OR vegetable*[tiab] OR fruit*[tiab] OR pulses[tiab] OR beans[tiab] OR lentils[tiab] OR chickpeas[tiab] OR legume*[tiab] OR soy[tiab] OR soya[tiab] OR nut[tiab] OR nuts[tiab] OR peanut*[tiab] OR groundnut*[tiab] OR seeds[tiab] OR meat[tiab] OR beef[tiab] OR pork[tiab] OR lamb[tiab] OR poultry[tiab] OR chicken[tiab] OR turkey[tiab] OR duck[tiab] OR fish[tiab] OR fat[tiab] OR fats[tiab] OR fatty[tiab] OR egg[tiab] OR eggs[tiab] OR bread[tiab] OR oils[tiab] OR shellfish[tiab] OR seafood[tiab] OR sugar[tiab] OR syrup[tiab] OR dairy[tiab] OR milk[tiab] OR herbs[tiab] OR spices[tiab] OR chilli[tiab] OR chillis[tiab] OR pepper*[tiab] OR condiments[tiab]

  5. #5

    fluid intake[tiab] OR water[tiab] OR drinks[tiab] OR drinking[tiab] OR tea[tiab] OR coffee[tiab] OR caffeine[tiab] OR juice[tiab] OR beer[tiab] OR spirits[tiab] OR liquor[tiab] OR wine[tiab] OR alcohol[tiab] OR alcoholic[tiab] OR beverage*[tiab] OR ethanol[tiab] OR yerba mate[tiab] OR ilex paraguariensis[tiab]

  6. #6

    pesticides[MeSH Terms] OR fertilizers[MeSH Terms] OR “veterinary drugs”[MeSH Terms]

  7. #7

    pesticide*[tiab] OR herbicide*[tiab] OR DDT[tiab] OR fertiliser*[tiab] OR fertilizer*[tiab] OR organic[tiab] OR contaminants[tiab] OR contaminate*[tiab] OR veterinary drug*[tiab] OR polychlorinated dibenzofuran*[tiab] OR PCDF*[tiab] OR polychlorinated dibenzodioxin*[tiab] OR PCDD*[tiab] OR polychlorinated biphenyl*[tiab] OR PCB*[tiab] OR cadmium[tiab] OR arsenic[tiab] OR chlorinated hydrocarbon*[tiab] OR microbial contamination*[tiab]

  8. #8

    food preservation[MeSH Terms]

  9. #9

    mycotoxin*[tiab] OR aflatoxin*[tiab] OR pickled[tiab] OR bottled[tiab] OR bottling[tiab] OR canned[tiab] OR canning[tiab] OR vacuum pack*[tiab] OR refrigerate*[tiab] OR refrigeration[tiab] OR cured[tiab] OR smoked[tiab] OR preserved[tiab] OR preservatives[tiab] OR nitrosamine[tiab] OR hydrogenation[tiab] OR fortified[tiab] OR additive*[tiab] OR colouring*[tiab] OR coloring*[tiab] OR flavouring*[tiab] OR flavoring*[tiab] OR nitrates[tiab] OR nitrites[tiab] OR solvent[tiab] OR solvents[tiab] OR ferment*[tiab] OR processed[tiab] OR antioxidant*[tiab] OR genetic modif*[tiab] OR genetically modif*[tiab] OR vinyl chloride[tiab] OR packaging[tiab] OR labelling[tiab] OR phthalates[tiab]

  10. #10

    cookery[MeSH Terms]

  11. #11

    cooking[tiab] OR cooked[tiab] OR grill[tiab] OR grilled[tiab] OR fried[tiab] OR fry[tiab] OR roast[tiab] OR bake[tiab] OR baked[tiab] OR stewing[tiab] OR stewed[tiab] OR casserol*[tiab] OR broil[tiab] OR broiled[tiab] OR boiled[tiab] OR microwave[tiab] OR microwaved[tiab] OR re-heating[tiab] OR reheating[tiab] OR heating[tiab] OR re-heated[tiab] OR heated[tiab] OR poach[tiab] OR poached[tiab] OR steamed[tiab] OR barbecue*[tiab] OR chargrill*[tiab] OR heterocyclic amines[tiab] OR polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons[tiab]

  12. #12

    dietary carbohydrates[MeSH Terms] OR dietary proteins[MeSH Terms] OR sweetening agents[MeSH Terms]

  13. #13

    salt[tiab] OR salting[tiab] OR salted[tiab] OR fiber[tiab] OR fibre[tiab] OR polysaccharide*[tiab] OR starch[tiab] OR starchy[tiab] OR carbohydrate*[tiab] OR lipid*[tiab] OR linoleic acid*[tiab] OR sterols[tiab] OR stanols[tiab] OR sugar*[tiab] OR sweetener*[tiab] OR saccharin*[tiab] OR aspartame[tiab] OR acesulfame[tiab] OR cyclamates[tiab] OR maltose[tiab] OR mannitol[tiab] OR sorbitol[tiab] OR sucrose[tiab] OR xylitol[tiab] OR cholesterol[tiab] OR protein[tiab] OR proteins[tiab] OR hydrogenated dietary oils[tiab] OR hydrogenated lard[tiab] OR hydrogenated oils[tiab]

  14. #14

    vitamins[MeSH Terms]

  15. #15

    supplements[tiab] OR supplement[tiab] OR vitamin*[tiab] OR retinol[tiab] OR carotenoid*[tiab] OR tocopherol[tiab] OR folate*[tiab] OR folic acid[tiab] OR methionine[tiab] OR riboflavin[tiab] OR thiamine[tiab] OR niacin[tiab] OR pyridoxine[tiab] OR cobalamin[tiab] OR mineral*[tiab] OR sodium[tiab] OR iron[tiab] OR calcium[tiab] OR selenium[tiab] OR iodine[tiab] OR magnesium[tiab] OR potassium[tiab] OR zinc[tiab] OR copper[tiab] OR phosphorus[tiab] OR manganese[tiab] OR chromium[tiab] OR phytochemical[tiab] OR allium[tiab] OR isothiocyanate*[tiab] OR glucosinolate*[tiab] OR indoles[tiab] OR polyphenol*[tiab] OR phytoestrogen*[tiab] OR genistein[tiab] OR saponin*[tiab] OR coumarin*[tiab]

  16. #16

    physical fitness[MeSH Terms] OR exertion[MeSH Terms] OR physical endurance[MeSH Terms] or walking[MeSH Terms]

  17. #17

    recreational activit*[tiab] OR household activit*[tiab] OR occupational activit*[tiab] OR physical activit*[tiab] OR physical inactivit*[tiab] OR exercise[tiab] OR exercising[tiab] OR energy intake[tiab] OR energy expenditure[tiab] OR energy balance[tiab] OR energy density[tiab]

  18. #18

    growth[MeSH Terms] OR anthropometry[MeSH Terms] OR body composition[MeSH Terms] OR body constitution[MeSH Terms]

  19. #19

    weight loss[tiab] or weight gain[tiab] OR anthropometry[tiab] OR birth weight[tiab] OR birthweight[tiab] OR birth-weight[tiab] OR child development[tiab] OR height[tiab] OR body composition[tiab] OR body mass[tiab] OR BMI[tiab] OR obesity[tiab] OR obese[tiab] OR overweight[tiab] OR over-weight[tiab] OR over weight[tiab] OR skinfold measurement*[tiab] OR skinfold thickness[tiab] OR DEXA[tiab] OR bio-impedence[tiab] OR waist circumference[tiab] OR hip circumference[tiab] OR waist hip ratio*[tiab]

  20. #20

    #1 OR #2 OR #3 OR #4 OR #5 OR #6 OR #7 OR #8 OR #9 OR #10 OR #11 OR #12 OR #13 OR #14 OR #15 OR #16 OR #17 OR #18 OR #19



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Table A Foods included in food groups in papers contributing to meta-analyses

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Bandera, E.V., Kushi, L.H., Moore, D.F. et al. Consumption of animal foods and endometrial cancer risk: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Cancer Causes Control 18, 967–988 (2007).

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