- High consumption of dietary heme iron was associated with a 16% increase in lung cancer, even after adjusting for smoking history.
Why this matters
- This is the largest study of heme iron consumption and lung cancer risk in Europe.
- 416,746 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a multicenter prospective cohort study.
- Funding: European Commission; International Agency for Research on Cancer; others.
- After multivariable analysis, people who consumed the highest amount of heme iron had a 16% increase in lung cancer risk compared with those who consumed the least (aHR, 1.16 [95% CI, 1.02-1.32] vs aHR, 1.09 [95% CI, 0.96-1.24], respectively).
- Association between heme iron and lung cancer risk was limited to small cell lung cancer (SCLC; HR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.10-1.26).
- After multivariable analysis, those who consumed the highest amounts of nonheme iron had a moderately lower risk for lung cancer compared with those who consumed the least (aHR, 0.75 [95% CI, 0.66-0.85] vs aHR, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.76-0.92], respectively), although the association was largely attenuated after adjusting for details of smoking history.
- Retrospective study.