Target Health Blog

Low-fat Dietary Pattern and Pancreatic Cancer Risk in Women

November 13, 2017


Observational studies suggest that diet may influence pancreatic cancer risk. As a result, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (18 August 2017) investigated the effect of a low-fat dietary intervention on pancreatic cancer incidence. 

The Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification (WHI-DM) trial is a randomized controlled trial conducted in 48,835 postmenopausal women age 50 to 79?years in the United States between 1993 and 1998. Women were randomly assigned to the intervention group (n=19,541), with the goal of reducing total fat intake and increasing intake of vegetables, fruits, and grains, or to the usual diet comparison group (n=29,294). The intervention concluded in March 2005. The current study evaluated the effect of the intervention on pancreatic cancer incidence with the follow-up through 2014. In the intention-to-treat analyses, which included 46,200 women, there were 92 vs 165 pancreatic cancer cases in the intervention vs the comparison group (P =0.23). The multivariable hazard ratio (HR) of pancreatic cancer was 0.86, and risk was statistically significantly reduced among women with baseline body mass indexes (BMIs) of 25kg/m2 or higher (HR=0.71), but not among women with BMIs of less than 25kg/m2 (HR=1.62; P=0.01). According to the author, a low-fat dietary intervention was associated with reduced pancreatic cancer incidence in women who were overweight or obese.

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