A Systematic Review of Environmental Risk Factors for Pancreatic Cancer

Sepideh Nikfam, Akram Pourshams



More than 250,000 people die annually of pancreatic cancer, worldwide. The highest incidence and mortality rates of pancreatic cancer are reported in developed countries. In developing countries the rate have been stabilizing over the past two decades but in countries which rates have been low for decades is now increasing. Recognizing pancreatic cancer's risk factors and its prevention are important roles in reducing pancreatic cancer mortality. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer are not well recognized. The aim of the study is to review the environmental risk factors of pancreas cancer.

Materials and Methods:

We performed a systematic review of the published literature to identify all studies that provided environmental risk factors in association with pancreatic cancer .we conducted MEDLINE search limited to last 5 years up to June 2011, for all relevant case -control, meta analysis, systematic review and cohort studies. Citations were limited to those published in the English language. Review and comment articles have been excluded.


Sixty six independent studies met the predefined inclusion criteria. Seven studies out of 15 found positive association between cigarette smoking and pancreatic cancer.Five articles out of 10 reviewed articles found high alcohol intake as a risk factor for pancreas cancer and the other 5 articles found dose related association with pancreas cancer.Coffee: according to 2 reviewed studies coffee not only does not have a substantial impact on pancreatic cancer risk but also coffee drinking has been associated with a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer in men. Frequent intakes of red meat and well-cooked meatand Vitamin D deficiency have positive association with pancreatic cancer risk.


Cigarette smoking is the most consistent risk factor for pancreas cancer in relevant studies about pancreas cancer risk factors.


Pancreas cancer; Neoplasm; Risk factor

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