Lung Cancer

Continue Reading

The effects of fish consumption on lung cancer risk appear to be mixed. A meta-analysis that included 20 studies of 8799 lung cancer cases and 17,072 controls demonstrated a significant decrease in lung cancer risk with high fish consumption (RR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.69-0.92), though this effect was largely due to the case-control studies (RR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.63-0.91) rather than the cohort studies (RR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.73-1.24).15 Another meta-analysis, however, found no association between fish consumption and lung cancer risk (RR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.96-1.07).16

Female Reproductive Cancers

Several meta-analyses found no association between fish consumption and breast cancer risk, with the most recent analysis, which included 27 studies, resulting in an SRR of 0.96 (95% CI, 0.87-1.07).17,18 A cohort study of an Icelandic population that was not included in the meta-analysis demonstrated a protective effect against breast cancer when 4 or more servings weekly were consumed during mid-life (hazard ratio [HR], 0.46; 95% CI, 0.22-0.97), but no effect when consumed during adolescence (OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.44-1.13), compared with 2 or fewer servings consumed weekly.19

Meta-analyses also found no association between fish consumption and overall risk of endometrial or ovarian cancers.20-24 An additional serving of fish per week, however, modestly reduced the risk of endometrial cancer among smokers (RR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.91-1.00).20

Genitourinary Cancers

Meta-analyses found no effect for fish consumption on risk of bladder cancer, renal cell carcinoma, or prostate cancer.25-27 The meta-analysis for prostate cancer did, however, find a 63% reduction in risk of prostate cancer–specific mortality with fish consumption (RR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.18-0.74).27 A more recent case-control study not included in the meta-analysis found a decreased risk of aggressive prostate cancer with fish consumption, but did not remain significant after adjusting for covariates.28

Related Articles

Thyroid Cancer

A meta-analysis of 19 studies found that high levels of fish consumption resulted in a lower risk of thyroid cancer compared with the lowest level of consumption (OR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.66-0.94), with no association with high consumption of salt water fish, fresh water fish, or shellfish.29 A more recent cohort study not included in the meta-analysis found no association between fish consumption overall or any specific type and the risk of differentiated thyroid cancer.30

Hematologic Cancers

Several meta-analyses demonstrated that fish consumption has a protective effect on some hematologic cancers. A meta-analysis of 33 studies, for example, demonstrated that fish and seafood consumption reduced the risk of multiple myeloma (SRR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.51-1.00), but had no effect on the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma, or follicular lymphoma.31 Another meta-analysis, which included 5 case-control studies, also found a protective effect of fish consumption against the risk of multiple myeloma (RR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.45-0.91).32

A meta-analysis of 18 studies evaluated the effect of the timing of fish consumption and the risk of leukemia.33 Fish consumed during early childhood (ages 0 to 4) significantly reduced the risk of childhood leukemia (OR, 0.27; 95% CI, 0.14-0.53), though there was no association with maternal fish consumption during pregnancy.


Epidemiologic evidence indicates that fish consumption is not associated with an increased risk of cancer of any type, and high consumption may have a protective benefit against gastrointestinal cancers, thyroid cancer, multiple myeloma, and childhood leukemia.


  1. Yu XF, Zou J, Dong J. Fish consumption and risk of gastrointestinal cancers: A meta-analysis of cohort studies. World J Gastroenterol. 2014;20:15398-412. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i41.15398
  2. Jiang G, Li B, Liao X, Zhong C. Poultry and fish intake and risk of esophageal cancer: A metaanalysis of observational studies. Asia Pac J Clin Oncol. 2016;12:e82-91. doi: 10.1111/ajco.12114
  3. Zhu HC, Yang X, Xu LP, et al. Meat consumption is associated with esophageal cancer risk in a meat- and cancer-histological-type dependent manner. Dig Dis Sci. 2014;59:664-73. doi: 10.1007/s10620-013-2928-y
  4. Han YJ, Li J, Huang W, Fang Y, Xiao LN, Liao ZE. Fish consumption and risk of esophageal cancer and its subtypes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013;67:147-54. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2012.213
  5. Salehi M, Moradi-Lakeh M, Salehi MH, Nojomi M, Kolahdooz F. Meat, fish, and esophageal cancer risk: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis. Nutr Rev. 2013;71:257-67. doi: 10.1111/nure.12028
  6. Wu S, Liang J, Zhang L, Zhu X, Liu X, Miao D. Fish consumption and the risk of gastric cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cancer. 2011;11:26-35.
  7. Stojanovic J, Giraldi L, Arzani D, et al. Adherence to Mediterranean diet and risk of gastric cancer: results of a case-control study in Italy. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2017;26:491-6. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000371
  8. Geelen A, Schouten JM, Kamphuis C, et al. Fish consumption, n-3 fatty acids, and colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Am J Epidemiol. 2007;166:1116-25. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwm197
  9. Wu S, Feng B, Li K, et al. Fish consumption and colorectal cancer risk in humans: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2012;125:551-9.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.01.022
  10. Pham NM, Mizoue T, Tanaka K, et al. Fish consumption and colorectal cancer risk: an evaluation based on a systematic review of epidemiologic evidence among the Japanese population. Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2013;43:935-41. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hyt094
  11. Gao M, Sun K, Guo M, et al. Fish consumption and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: systematic review and meta-analysis. Cancer Causes Control. 2015;26:367-76. doi: 10.1007/s10552-014-0512-1
  12. Luo J, Yang Y, Liu J, et al. Systematic review with meta-analysis: meat consumption and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014;39:913-22. doi: 10.1111/apt.12678
  13. Qin B, Xun P, He K. Fish or long-chain (n-3) PUFA intake is not associated with pancreatic cancer risk in a meta-analysis and systematic review. J Nutr. 2012;142:1067-73. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.156711
  14. McCullough ML, Jacobs EJ, Shah R, et al. Meat consumption and pancreatic cancer risk among men and women in the Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort. Cancer Causes Control. 2018;29:125-33. doi: 10.1007/s10552-017-0984-x
  15. Song J, Su H, Wang BL, Zhou YY, Guo LL. Fish consumption and lung cancer risk: systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Cancer. 2014;66:539-49. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2014.894102
  16. Yang WS, Wong MY, Vogtmann E, et al. Meat consumption and risk of lung cancer: evidence from observational studies. Ann Oncol. 2012;23:3163-70. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mds207
  17. Zhihui W, Weihua Y, Zupei W, Jinlin H. Fish consumption and risk of breast cancer: meta-analysis of 27 observational studies. Nutr Hosp. 2016;33:703-12.
  18. Zheng JS, Hu XJ, Zhao YM, Yang J, Li D. Intake of fish and marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of breast cancer: meta-analysis of data from 21 independent prospective cohort studies. BMJ. 2013;346:f3706. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f3706
  19. Haraldsdottir A, Steingrimsdottir L, Valdimarsdottir UA, et al. Early life residence, fish consumption and risk of breast cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2017;26:346-54. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0473-T
  20. Hou R, Yao SS, Liu J, Wang LL, Wu L, Jiang L. Dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, fish consumption, and endometrial cancer risk: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Oncotarget. 2017;8:91684-93. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.18295
  21. Bandera EV, Kushi LH, Moore DF, Gifkins DM, McCullough ML. Consumption of animal foods and endometrial cancer risk: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Cancer Causes Control. 2007;18:967-88. doi:10.1007/s10552-007-9038-0
  22. Jiang PY, Jiang ZB, Shen KX, Yue Y. Fish intake and ovarian cancer risk: a meta-analysis of 15 case-control and cohort studies. PLoS ONE. 2014;9:e94601. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094601
  23. Kolahdooz F, van der Pols JC, Bain CJ, et al. Meat, fish, and ovarian cancer risk: results from 2 Australian case-control studies, a systematic review, and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91:1752-63. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28415
  24. Li Z, Yu J, Miao Q, et al. The association of fish consumption with bladder cancer risk: A meta-analysis. World J Surg Oncol. 2011;9:107-14.
  25. Bai HW, Qian YY, Shi BY, et al. The association between fish consumption and risk of renal cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies. PLoS ONE. 2013;8:e81939. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081939
  26. Outzen M, Tjønneland A, Christensen J, Olsen A. Fish consumption and prostate cancer risk and mortality in a Danish cohort study. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2016 Nov 22. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000330 [Epub ahead of print]
  27. Szymanski KM, Wheeler DC, Mucci LA. Fish consumption and prostate cancer risk: a review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;92:1223-33. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.29530.
  28. Pascual-Geler M, Urquiza-Salvat N, Cozar JM, et al. The influence of nutritional factors on prostate cancer incidence and aggressiveness. Aging Male. 2017;20:1-9. doi: 10.1080/13685538.2017.1379491
  29. Liu ZT, Lin AH. Dietary factors and thyroid cancer risk: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Nutr Cancer. 2014;66:1165-78. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2014.951734
  30. Zamora-Ros R, Castaneda J, Rinaldi S, et al. Consumption of fish is not associated with risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study. J Nutr. 2017;147(7):1366-73. doi: 10.3945/jn.117.247874
  31. Caini S, Masala G, Gnagnarella P, et al. Food of animal origin and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma: a review of the literature and meta-analysis. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2016;100:16-24. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2016.02.011
  32. Wang YZ, Wu QJ, Zhu J, Wu L. Fish consumption and risk of myeloma: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Cancer Causes Control. 2015;26:1307-14. doi: 10.1007/s10552-015-0625-1.
  33. Dessypris N, Karalexi MA, Ntouvelis E, et al. Association of maternal and index child’s diet with subsequent leukemia risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cancer Epidemiol. 2017;47:64-75. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2017.01.003