Introduction Esophageal cancer is the 8th most common cancer and the 6th leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Mortality from this cancer is high and despite improvements in treatment, the 5 year survival rate still remains low at around 10–13%. The associations between some of risk factors with esophageal cancer are well defined while the role of diet remains controversial. Thus, we sought to examine quantitatively the association between intake of meat and fish and esophageal cancer.
Methods We searched major database for published studies (January 1990 through January 2011) on the associations between consumption of total meat, red meat, processed meat, poultry, and fish and risk of esophageal cancer. Random-effects models were used to pool study results. We conducted subgroup analyses by, histologic subtypes of esophageal cancer, nationality, and potential confounders.
Results We identified three cohort studies and 30 case control studies. The pooled RR of esophageal cancer for intakes of the highest group compared with the lowest group of total meat, red meat, processed meat, poultry and fish were 1.02 (95% CI 0.89 to 1.18), 1.42 (95% CI 1.09 to 1.86), 1.41 (95% CI 1.12 to −1.78), 0.87 (95% CI 0.60 to 1.24), 0.77 (95% CI 0.62 to 0.97) respectively.
Conclusion Our results suggest that high intake of red meat and processed meat may be associated with a higher risk of esophageal cancer, whereas high fish intake may be related to a lower risk.
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