Information sourced from NEJM Journal Watch:
Regardless of body-mass index, women who drank sugar-sweetened beverages had excess risk for estrogen-dependent endometrial neoplasia.
Although the link between obesity and endometrial cancer is well established, how might intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) affect risk for this cancer? Beginning in 1986, researchers for the Iowa Women’s Health Study assessed participants’ health-related parameters such as dietary intake. Incidence of type I (estrogen-related) and type II (estrogen-independent) endometrial cancer was determined annually using state and federal surveillance data.
As of 2010, among 23,039 evaluable women (mean age at baseline, 62), 592 incident, invasive endometrial cancers were identified (506 type I, 89 type II). After adjusting for body-mass index and other confounders, placement in the top quintile for SSB consumption compared with the bottom quintile was associated with a 78% higher risk for type I endometrial cancer (P=0.0005). Neither fruit juice nor sugar-free beverages were associated with risk for type I tumors. None of the dietary items studied were associated with risk for type II endometrial cancer.
Sugar-sweetened beverages are a major source of dietary sugar in the U.S., affecting insulin and glucose levels more profoundly than sugars in whole foods. Furthermore, SSB consumption has been rising in parallel with obesity prevalence. By clarifying that consumption of SSB contributes to risk for type I endometrial cancer (regardless of body weight), these findings point to the health benefits of avoiding sugary beverages.
Andrew M. Kaunitz, MD reviewing Inoue-Choi M et al. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2013 Dec.
Inoue-Choi M et al. Sugar-sweetened beverage intake and the risk of type I and type II endometrial cancer among postmenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2013 Dec; 22:2384. [Free full-text Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev article PDF | PubMed® abstract]