Pancreatic cancer and exposure to dietary nitrate and nitrite in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.Am J Epidemiol 2011; 174(3):305-15AJ
Nitrate and nitrite are precursors of N-nitroso compounds, which induce tumors of the pancreas in animals. The authors evaluated the relation of dietary nitrate and nitrite to pancreatic cancer risk in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Nitrate and nitrite intakes were assessed at baseline using a 124-item food frequency questionnaire. During approximately 10 years of follow-up between 1995 and 2006, 1,728 incident pancreatic cancer cases were identified. There was no association between total nitrate or nitrite intake and pancreatic cancer in men or women. However, men in the highest quintile of summed nitrate/nitrite intake from processed meat had a nonsignificantly elevated risk of pancreatic cancer (hazard ratio = 1.18, 95% confidence interval: 0.95, 1.47; P-trend = 0.11). The authors observed a stronger increase in risk among men for nitrate/nitrite intake from processed meat at ages 12-13 years (highest quintile vs. lowest: hazard ratio = 1.32, 95% confidence interval: 0.99, 1.76; P-trend = 0.11), though the relation did not achieve statistical significance. The authors found no associations between adult or adolescent nitrate or nitrite intake from processed meats and pancreatic cancer among women. These results provide modest evidence that processed meat sources of dietary nitrate and nitrite may be associated with pancreatic cancer among men and provide no support for the hypothesis in women.