Frying food is 'not linked' to risk of lung cancer

Cancer Study disputes theory that acrylamides, formed when food is fried, can cause lung cancer if ingested.

Compounds formed during frying and grilling of starchy food do not increase lung cancer risk, a study of over 120,852 people has found.

Previous research has suggested that individuals' risk of breast, ovarian and kidney cancer could be raised by high dietary intake of acrylamide, a compound formed in some starchy foods during high- temperature cooking.

Researchers from Maastrict University in the Netherlands asked 120,852 men and women about cancer risk factors and diet to estimate acrylamide intake. After 13.3 years of follow-up, 2,649 cases of lung cancer had been identified.

In men, acrylamide intake was not associated with any difference in lung cancer risk. However, for women, higher intake was associated with an 18 per cent reduced risk of lung cancer.

The researchers pointed out that this result is at odds with the findings of animal studies and stressed that the findings should be treated with caution.

However, they suggest that acrylamide may cause cancer through an effect on hormones.

'We hypothesise that acrylamide may alter hormonal balances in such a way that it decreases lung cancer risk in women but increases endometrial and ovarian cancer risk,' the researchers said.

They added that further research should examine the association between acrylamide intake and lung cancer, separately among men and women, and stratified by smoking status and alcohol consumption.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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