TORONTO, April 28 --
Acrylamide, the suspected carcinogen found in potato chips and french
fries, is not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, Dutch
Explain to interested patients that animal studies raised
fears that acrylamide, a compound that arises in some cooked foods, might
be a carcinogen.
Note that this study suggests there is no link to lung
cancer in men and a possibly protective association in women.
participants in a large case-control study, there was no link between the
disease and consumption of foods high in acrylamide, according to Janneke
Hogervorst, M.Sc., of Maastricht University, in the Netherlands, and
other hand, in women, eating more of the compound appeared to be associated
with a lower risk of lung cancer, the researchers reported online in the Journal of the National Cancer
is found in commonly consumed carbohydrate-rich heated foods, such as
french fries and potato chips, and is classified as a probable human carcinogen
based on results from animal studies.
evidence on links to human cancers, on the other hand, is mixed, with some
studies showing a link and others finding no association.
the issue in lung cancer, the researchers turned to the Netherlands Cohort
Study on Diet and Cancer, which includes 58,279 men and 62,573 women ages
55 through 69.
estimated intakes of acrylamide-containing foods and risk factors for
using a self-administered questionnaire at baseline in 1986. Those data
were combined with acrylamide levels in relevant Dutch foods to assess the
total dietary acrylamide intake.
years of follow-up -- from Sept. 17, 1986 to Jan. 1, 2000 -- there were
2,649 cases of primary and histologically verified lung cancer in the
10-microgram per day increment of acrylamide intake, the lung cancer hazard
ratio for men was 1.03,with a 95% confidence interval from 0.96 to 1.11.
also no trend when male participants were divided into quintiles based on
the hazard ratio for each 10-microgram per day increment of acrylamide
intake was 0.82, with a 95% confidence interval from 0.69 to 0.96, which
was statistically significant at P<0.05.
ratio for lung cancer for the highest quintile of women (median intake of
36.8 micrograms per day) was 0.45, when compared with the lowest quintile
(median intake of 9.5 micrograms per day). That trend, too, was
significant, at P=0.01.
researchers said it might be that acrylamide has a hormonal effect on
cancer risk, which might explain the contrast between this study and
earlier ones showing an increase in postmenopausal endometrial and ovarian
other hand, other factors could also explain the apparent protective effect
in women, according to Lorelei Mucci, Sc.D., and Hans-Olov Adami, M.D.,
Ph.D., both of Harvard School of Public Health.
accompanying editorial, they urged caution in interpreting subgroup
analyses that are driven by the data rather than a priori hypotheses.
said it is hard to rule out chance in such a finding.
the safer conclusion we can make from the Netherlands study is that the
findings do not support a positive association between acrylamide intake
from diet and risk of lung cancer," they concluded.
study was supported by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety
Authority and the Dutch Cancer Society.
reported no conflicts.