Diet could affect risk for esophageal and gastric cancers, but associations have been inconsistent.
The diet is complex, so studies of dietary patterns, rather than studies of individual foods, might be more likely to identify cancer risk factors.
There is limited research on index-based dietary patterns and esophageal and gastric cancers.
Dr Wen-Qing Li and colleagues from Maryland, USA prospectively evaluated associations between the Healthy Eating Index-2005 and alternate Mediterranean Diet scores, and risk of esophageal and gastric cancers.
|Esophageal squamous cell carcinomas was inversely associated with a higher aMED score |
|Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology|
The team analyzed data from 494,968 participants in the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health study, in which AARP members completed a self-administered baseline food frequency questionnaire between 1995 and 1996.
Their answers were used to estimate scores for each index.
During the follow-up period, participants developed 215 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas, 633 esophageal adenocarcinomas, 453 gastric cardia adenocarcinomas, and 501 gastric noncardia adenocarcinomas.
The team found that higher scores from the HEI-2005 were associated with a reduced risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinomas and esophageal adenocarcinomas.
The doctors observed an inverse association between esophageal squamous cell carcinomas, but not esophageal adenocarcinomas, and a higher aMED score (meaning a higher-quality diet).
The research team noted that HEI-2005 and aMED scores were not associated significantly with gastric cardia or noncardia adenocarcinomas.
Dr Li's team concludes, "By using data collected from 1995 through 2006 from the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study, HEI-2005 and aMED scores were associated inversely with risk for esophageal cancers, particularly esophageal squamous cell carcinomas."
"Adherence to dietary recommendations might help prevent esophageal cancers."