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Meat consumption may be associated with the risk of liver cancer

A study in the latest issue of the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics reviews the association between meat consumption and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.

News image

The association between meat consumption and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is still inconclusive.

Professor Zhu and colleagues from China conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to quantitatively assess the relationship between meat intake and the risk of HCC.

The team searched the PubMed, Web of Science and EMBASE databases for relevant studies published before 2013.

The summary relative risks were pooled using the fixed-effects model when no substantial heterogeneity was detected, otherwise, the random-effects model was used.

Heterogeneity and publication bias were also analyzed.

Fish consumption was inversely associated with HCC risk, with a summary RR of 0.78
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics

The team evaluated 7 cohort studies, and 10 case–control studies.

The researchers found that the pooled relative risks (RRs) of HCC for the highest vs. lowest consumption levels were 1.10 for red meat, 1.01 for processed meat, and 0.97 for total meat.

Moreover, white meat and fish consumption were found to be inversely associated with HCC risk, the summary relative risks were 0.69 and 0.78, respectively, and the results remained quite stable after stratification by the confounding factors.

Professor Zhu and colleagues conclude, "The present meta-analysis indicates that a high level of white meat or fish consumption can reduce the risk of HCC significantly, while intake of red meat, processed meat or total meat is not associated with HCC risk."

"Our findings suggest that dietary intervention may be a promising approach for prevention of HCC, which still need to be confirmed by further well-designed prospective studies and experimental research."

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2014: 39(9): 913–922
07 April 2014

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