News Releases & Statements
Pancreatic Cancer Study Doesn't Add Up
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2006
PANCREATIC CANCER STUDY DOESN’T MEASURE UP
PROSPECTIVE SWEDISH STUDY CONTAINS SEVERE LIMITATIONS
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The recent study on pancreatic cancer and sugar intake published in the November issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition contains several limitations that undermine the conclusions made by the authors.
“This study fails to consider many factors, including the fact that both the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society have stated that pancreatic cancer rates have not changed over the last 30 years, yet during this same period, beverage consumption has increased due to the wide variety of products that are available,” said Dr. Richard H. Adamson, scientific consultant for the American Beverage Association (ABA) and former Scientific Director and Director of Cancer Etiology at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. “Clearly we need to look at factors other than sugars as the cause of human pancreatic cancer. To date the main known risk factor for pancreatic cancer is smoking.”
The limitations of “Consumption of sugar and sugar-sweetened foods and the risk of pancreatic cancer in a prospective study” include:
• The fact that the authors could not differ between drinks that were sugar-sweetened and those that were sweetened with sugar substitutes i.e. diet drinks;
• The authors did not adjust or eliminate cases from those who had a family history of pancreatic cancer, or with a family history of colon or ovarian cancer, as that also increases the risk of pancreatic cancer;
• The small number of pancreatic cancer cases (137) out of a large sample (77,797) makes the statistical analysis questionable.
Other peer reviewed studies have failed to find any association between sugar intake and pancreatic cancer risk, (Michaund, D.S. et al, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2004; Vol. 94).
Pancreatic cancer has several known risk factors, including: age, smoking, diabetes and family history of pancreatic cancer. In addition, males and African-Americans have a higher risk of contracting the disease. Specific dietary factors have yet to be shown to be important in the risk of this disease.
Dr. Adamson has held positions with the U.S. Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute, NIH, where he rose to Director, Division of Cancer Etiology and Scientific Director. He also served as a Senior Policy Analyst in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President. Adamson holds an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Drake University and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Iowa. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, serves on numerous editorial boards and has won many awards, including a Fulbright Award and the Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank.
# # #
The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.