Dietary pattern analysis has gained particular interest, because it reflects the complexity of dietary intake. The aim of this study was to explore the associations between a posteriori dietary patterns, derived using a data-driven approach, and the risk of differentiated thyroid cancer (TC) in Europe.
This investigation included 450,064 adults from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Dietary intake was assessed using validated country-specific dietary questionnaires. A posteriori dietary patterns were computed using principal component analyses. Cox regression was used to calculate multivariable adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
After a mean follow-up time of 14 years, 712 first differentiated TCs were diagnosed. In the fully adjusted model, a dietary pattern characterized by alcohol consumption (basically beer and wine) was negatively associated with differentiated TC risk (HRQ4vs.Q1 = 0.75; 95% CI:0.60–0.94, P-trend = 0.005), while a dietary pattern rich in sweetened beverages was positively associated with differentiated TC risk (HRQ4vs.Q1 = 1.26; 95% CI:0.99–1.61; P-trend = 0.07). The remaining 8 dietary patterns were not related to differentiated TC risk. The intake of sweetened beverages was positively associated with differentiated TC risk (HR100mL/d = 1.05; 95% CI:1.00–1.11), especially with papillary TC risk (HR100mL/d = 1.07; 95% CI:1.01–1.13). Similar results were observed with sugary and artificially sweetened beverages.
The investigation of dietary patterns detected that the consumption of sweetened beverages was associated with a higher risk of differentiated thyroid cancer. Our results are in line with the general dietary recommendations of reducing the consumption of sweetened beverages.