Total dietary fat and saturated fat intake may increase one’s risk of developing lung cancer, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

Lung cancer accounts for one-fifth of cancer-related deaths globally every year. In addition to tobacco intake, dietary factors may play a role in lung cancer’s carcinogenesis, though data regarding the latter are unclear.

For this multi-national analysis of 10 prospective cohorts, researchers evaluated data from 1,445,850 participants, among whom 18,822 developed lung cancer, to determine whether dietary intake is linked to the disease.

Continue Reading

Participants were grouped into quintiles ranging from lowest total dietary fat intake to highest (range among men, 19.2% of total daily energy to 37.6%; range among women, 20.8% to 38.1%).

Compared with participants in the highest quintile, participants in the lowest quintile were more likely to be former smokers, less likely to be current smokers, more likely to have undertaken graduate studies, and more likely to have a higher daily intake of alcohol, carbohydrates, and vegetables.

Participants in higher quintiles had consistently higher intakes of protein, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat.

Compared with the lowest quintile, participants with the highest saturated fat intake had a hazard ratio (HR) for lung cancer of 1.14. Among current smokers, participants with a high saturated fat intake had an HR of 1.23 compared with former and never smokers.

Participants with a high saturated fat intake were also at an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma (HR, 1.61) and small cell carcinoma (HR, 1.4).

RELATED: Eribulin Does Not Prolong Overall Survival in Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

The authors concluded that “promoting polyunsaturated fat while reducing saturated fat intake, especially among current smokers and recent quitters, may present a modifiable dietary approach to the prevention of not only cardiovascular disease but also lung cancer.”


  1. Yang JJ, Yu D, Takata Y, et al. Dietary fat intake and lung cancer risk: a pooled analysis. J Clin Oncol. 2017 Jul 25. doi:  10.1200/JCO.2017.73.3329 [Epub ahead of print]