There is conflicting evidence on the association between folate intake and the risk of upper gastrointestinal tract cancers.
In order to further elucidate this relationship, Professor Guy Eslick and colleagues from Australia performed a systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis of folate intake and the risk of esophageal, gastric, and pancreatic cancer.
The team searched 4 electronic databases including Medline, PubMed, Embase, and Current Contents Connect to 2013, with no language restrictions for observational studies that measured folate intake and the risk of esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, or pancreatic cancer.
Pooled odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using a random effects model.
|8 studies showed a decreased risk of pancreatic cancer with dietary folate|
|Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
The meta-analysis of dietary folate and esophageal cancer risk comprising of 9 retrospective studies showed a decreased risk of esophageal cancer.
The team reported that the meta-analysis of dietary folate and gastric cancer risk comprising of 16 studies showed no association.
The researchers observed that the meta-analysis of dietary folate and pancreatic cancer risk of 8 studies showed a decreased risk of pancreatic cancer.
Professor Eslick's team comments, "Dietary folate intake is associated with a decreased risk of esophageal and pancreatic cancer, but not gastric cancer."
"Interpretation of these relationships is complicated by significant heterogeneity between studies when pooled, and by small numbers of studies available to analyze when stratification is performed to reduce heterogeneity."