Potato consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer in the HELGA cohort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Potatoes have been a staple food in many countries throughout the years. Potatoes have a high glycaemic index (GI) score, and high GI has been associated with several chronic diseases and cancers. Still, the research on potatoes and health is scarce and contradictive, and we identified no prospective studies that had investigated the association between potatoes as a single food and the risk of pancreatic cancer. The aim of this study was to prospectively investigate the association between potato consumption and pancreatic cancer among 114 240 men and women in the prospective HELGA cohort, using Cox proportional hazard models. Information on diet (validated FFQ's), lifestyle and health was collected by means of a questionnaire, and 221 pancreatic cancer cases were identified through cancer registries. The mean follow-up time was 11·4 (95 % CI 0·3, 16·9) years. High consumption of potatoes showed a non-significantly higher risk of pancreatic cancer in the adjusted model (hazard ratio (HR) 1·44; 95 % CI 0·93, 2·22, P for trend 0·030) when comparing the highest v. The lowest quartile of potato consumption. In the sex-specific analyses, significant associations were found for females (HR 2·00; 95 % CI 1·07, 3·72, P for trend 0·020), but not for males (HR 1·01; 95 % CI 0·56, 1·84, P for trend 0·34). In addition, we explored the associations by spline regression, and the absence of dose-response effects was confirmed. In this study, high potato consumption was not consistently associated with a higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Further studies with larger populations are needed to explore the possible sex difference.


  • Lene A. Åsli
  • Tonje Braaten
  • Anja Olsen
  • Anne Tjonneland
  • Kim Overvad
  • Lena Maria Nilsson
  • Frida Renström
  • Eiliv Lund
  • Guri Skeie
External organisations
  • UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø
  • Danish Cancer Society Research Center
  • Umeå University
  • Aarhus University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Cancer, Cohort studies, Epidemiology, Potatoes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1408-1415
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 28
Publication categoryResearch