Other Cancers

Red meat intake was associated with an increased risk of several other types of cancer in meta-analyses as well. Higher red meat intake compared with lower intake was significantly associated with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SRRE, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.26-1.95; I2 = 56%), glioma (RR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.08-1.58), and nasopharyngeal cancer (RR, 1.71; 95% CI, 1.14-2.55).16-18 An increased risk of pancreatic cancer was also associated with higher red meat intake among case-control studies (RR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.05-1.81), but not cohort studies.19

One meta-analysis of 5 cohort and 8 case-control studies found a significant association per 100 g daily of red meat and bladder cancer only among case-control studies (RR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.13-2.02).20 Another meta-analysis, however, found no significant association with high red meat intake and an increased risk of bladder cancer compared with lower red meat intake (SRRE, 1.15; 95% CI, 0.97-1.36).21 This study did not analyze cohort and case-control studies separately.

Cancers With No Association With Red Meat Intake

Several studies found no association between red meat intake and hepatocellular carcinoma, oral cavity and oropharynx cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer.22-25

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Conclusions

Epidemiologic evidence suggests that high consumption of red meat, particularly beef, is associated with an increased risk of several types of cancer. Pork has not been associated with cancer risk, and the association with lamb is mixed. The evidence for an association with red meat intake is strongest among case-control studies, as some cohort studies have not demonstrated consistent results with the case-control studies. This highlights the limitations of epidemiologic data; it should be noted that there are no randomized controlled trials that have evaluated the effect of a high red meat diet on cancer risk.

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