Despite the potential cancer preventive effects of flavonoids and lignans, their ability to reduce pancreatic cancer risk has not been demonstrated in epidemiological studies. Our aim was to examine the association between dietary intakes of flavonoids and lignans and pancreatic cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.
A total of 865 exocrine pancreatic cancer cases occurred after 11.3 years of follow-up of 477,309 cohort members. Dietary flavonoid and lignan intake was estimated through validated dietary questionnaires and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Phenol Explorer databases. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using age, sex and center-stratified Cox proportional hazards models, adjusted for energy intake, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol and diabetes status.
Our results showed that neither overall dietary intake of flavonoids nor of lignans were associated with pancreatic cancer risk (multivariable-adjusted HR for a doubling of intake = 1.03, 95% CI: 0.95-1.11 and 1.02; 95% CI: 0.89-1.17, respectively). Statistically significant associations were also not observed by flavonoid subclasses. An inverse association between intake of flavanones and pancreatic cancer risk was apparent, without reaching statistical significance, in microscopically confirmed cases (HR for a doubling of intake = 0.96, 95% CI: 0.91-1.00).
In conclusion, we did not observe an association between intake of flavonoids, flavonoid subclasses or lignans and pancreatic cancer risk in the EPIC cohort. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.