Is dairy consumption associated with liver cancer risk? Original paper

In this meta-analysis of observational studies, a higher intake of yogurt was associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer. There was also evidence to suggest a higher intake of milk was associated with an increased risk of liver cancer.

This Study Summary was published on April 2, 2024.

Quick Summary

In this meta-analysis of observational studies, a higher intake of yogurt was associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer. There was also evidence to suggest a higher intake of milk was associated with an increased risk of liver cancer.

What was studied?

Whether dairy intake is associated with liver cancer risk.

Analyses were conducted to determine whether total dairy product intake or the intake of individual dairy products (i.e., cheese or curd, milk, and yogurt) were associated with liver cancer risk.

Who was studied?

A total of 6,562,714 participants, including 7,970 with liver cancer.

How was it studied?

A meta-analysis of 18 observational studies (10 cohort studies and 8 case-control studies) was performed. Nine of the studies were conducted in Asia, 6 in Europe, and 3 in the United States. The duration of follow-up ranged from 2 to 32 years.

Data comparing the group with the highest dairy intake to the group with the lowest dairy intake were obtained from each study. Subgroup analyses were conducted to determine whether the design of the study influenced the results.

What were the results?

Compared with lower yogurt intake, higher yogurt intake was associated with a 51% lower risk of liver cancer.

No association was found for total dairy or milk intake in the overall analyses. However, subgroup analyses indicated that higher total dairy and milk intakes were associated with a 21% to 26% higher risk of liver cancer in 6 of the cohort studies.

Anything else I need to know?

Analyses in 13 of the studies adjusted for alcohol consumption, 10 adjusted for smoking, 8 adjusted for BMI, and only a few adjusted for physical activity or calorie intake. Because many of the included studies did not adjust for important confounders, the results should be interpreted with caution.

This Study Summary was published on April 2, 2024.