Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages linked to endometrial cancer
Increased intake of sugar sweetened beverages has been found to be associated with obesity and type II diabetes in the past. However, in a first study of its kind, researchers from the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, have found that increased consumption of these sugar sweetened beverages and sweets is associated with increased risk of estrogen dependent type I endometrial cancer in post-menopausal women. The research has been published in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal published by the American Association for Cancer Research and was carried out by Maki Inoue-Choi and her colleagues.
The researchers evaluated the diet, demographic information and medical history of 23,039 post-menopausal women who were a part of the Iowa Women’s Health Study. The participants were asked to fill up questionnaires regarding their daily intake of 127 food items in the past one year. The food items included sugar sweetened beverages, fruit juice, sugar free beverages, sugars, baked goods and starch. The consumption of sugar sweetened beverages was arranged in the form of quintiles. It ranged from no intake (lowest quintile) to 60.5 servings per week (highest quintile).
The researchers noticed 506 type I and 89 type II endometrial cancer cases during the study period (1986 to 2010). After adjusting for confounding factors like the BMI, researchers observed an increased association between the risk of endometrial cancer type I and consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. It was seen that compared to women who did not drink these beverages, women consumers of sugar sweetened beverages, who were in the highest quintile, had a 78% increased risk of developing estrogen dependent type I endometrial cancer. This association persisted even when factors like BMI, physical activity, diabetes and cigarette smoking were taken care of. There was a similar association between type I endometrial cancer and increased sugar consumption. There was no association between sugar sweetened beverages and non-estrogen dependent type II endometrial cancer.
The researchers have opined that increased consumption of sugar sweetened drinks is associated with obesity. This, in turn, leads to increased levels of insulin and estrogen. The latter two are established risk factors for the development of endometrial cancer.
Editor: Dr. Bimal Rajalingam MBBSDNB