Although the incidence of gastric cancer is declining, it remains the most common cancer in Korea.
There have been discrepancies in epidemiologic studies regarding a causal relation between highly salted food and the risk of gastric cancer.
Dr Nam and colleagues from Korea assessed the effect of salt preference on the incidence of gastric cancer in Korean adults through a population-based, prospective cohort study.
Participants were Korean government employees, school faculty members, and their unemployed dependents, aged 30–80 years, who underwent health examinations between 1996 and 1997.
In 2003, information on the gastric cancer incidence in these participants was obtained during the 6–7-years follow-up period.
|Incidence rates per 100,000 person-years for the overall population was 98%|
|American Journal of Clinical Nutrition|
The final data analysis included 2,248,129 study subjects.
The research team found that the age-standardized incidence rates per 100,000 person-years for the overall total population, men only, and women only were 98%, 136%, and 53%, respectively.
The Cox proportional hazards regression model, with adjustment for possible confounding factors, showed evidence of an increased risk of gastric cancer with salt preference.
The researchers found that the hazard ratios were 1.1 both for the overall total population and men only, respectively.
Dr Nam's team concludes, "The current findings suggest that salt preference has a marginal positive association with a risk of gastric cancer."