Dietary patterns with combined and site-specific cancer incidence in Alberta’s Tomorrow Project cohort

Romy F. Willemsen, Jessica Mcneil, Emily Heer, Steven T. Johnson, Christine M. Friedenreich, Darren R. Brenner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Objectives: Poor diet quality has been associated with an increased risk of cancer. Here, we examine the association between dietary patterns derived with two methods, and combined and site-specific cancer incidence in Canada.
Subjects/Methods: Dietary data were obtained from participants enrolled in Alberta’s Tomorrow Project, a prospective cohort study, between 2000 and 2008. Principle component analysis (PCA) and reduced rank regression (RRR) were used to derive dietary patterns, and data linkage with the Alberta Cancer Registry was used for incident cancer cases. Cox proportional hazard regressions were used to estimate multivariable-adjusted models for the association between each dietary pattern score with combined and site-specific cancer incidence.
Results: PCA revealed three dietary patterns (“western”, “prudent”, and “sugar, fruits, and dairy”) and RRR resulted in four patterns (“dietary fiber“, “vitamin D”, “fructose”, and “discretionary fat”). Five cancer sites were included in our site-specific analysis: lung, colon, breast, prostate, and endometrial cancers. The most protective dietary patterns for combined cancer sites were the “Prudent” pattern (HR = 0.82, CI = 0.73–0.92) and the “Dietary fiber” pattern (HR = 0.82, CI = 0.69–0.97). The “Fructose” pattern was associated with increased risk of combined cancers (HR = 1.14, CI = 1.02–1.27). Three dietary patterns were protective against colon cancer (“Prudent”, “Dietary fiber”, and “Discretionary fats”), and other risk reductions were seen for the “sugar, fruit, and dairy” pattern (lung cancer), and the “Dietary fiber” pattern (prostate cancer).
Conclusions: These results support cancer prevention strategies for a diet high in vegetables, fruits, fish, and whole grains. Further studies should explore the possible association between discretionary fats and colon cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-372
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


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