Intake of methyl-related nutrients and risk of pancreatic cancer in a population-based case-control study in Minnesota



Folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and methionine are involved in DNA synthesis and methylation and thus may modulate pancreatic cancer risk. We investigated these associations in a population-based case-control study conducted in 1994–1998.


Cases (n = 150) were identified from all hospitals in the metropolitan areas of the Twin Cities and the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota. Controls (n = 459) were selected randomly from the general population and were frequency matched to cases by age, sex, and race. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for risk of pancreatic cancer in relation to intake of nutrients considered.


Dietary intake of folate was associated with a reduced pancreatic cancer risk [OR (95% CI) for quartile (Q) 4 vs. Q1: 0.31 (0.12–0.78)]. A composite score (range from 2 to 8), reflecting combined dietary intake of folate and vitamin B6, was also inversely associated with pancreatic cancer risk [OR (95% CI) for Q4 vs. Q1: 0.24 (0.08–0.70)]. Null associations were found for intake of vitamin B12 and methionine.


Dietary folate intake was associated with a reduced pancreatic cancer risk, and this association became stronger when dietary intake of folate and vitamin B6 was combined in analysis.

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Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01CA58697 to Dr. Kristin Anderson and T32CA117865 to Dr. Victoria Champion). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to Jianjun Zhang.

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Marley, A.R., Fan, H., Hoyt, M.L. et al. Intake of methyl-related nutrients and risk of pancreatic cancer in a population-based case-control study in Minnesota. Eur J Clin Nutr 72, 1128–1135 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-018-0228-5

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