A recent study has reportedly identified “positive associations between red meat intake and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.” Amanda Cross, et al., “Meat Consumption and Risk of Esophageal and Gastric Cancer in a Large Prospective Study,” American Journal of Gastroenterology, October 2010. Using a large cohort study of approximately 500,000 adults, researchers evidently concluded during a 10-year follow-up period that those in the top quintile for red meat consumption were 79 percent more likely to develop esophageal squamous cell carcinoma than those who consumed the least red meat The study authors also found a “a positive association” between gastric cardia cancer and DiMeIQx, a form of heterocyclic acid created by high-temperature cooking. They cautioned, however, that neither finding supports a causal link between red meat and the two cancers. In addition, as the study abstract notes, “benzo[a]pyrene, nitrate, and nitrite were not associated with esophageal or gastric cancer.”

In a related development, a meta-analysis of 26 separate studies did not support “an independent positive association between red or processed meat and prostate cancer.” Dominik Alexander, et al., “A review and meta-analysis of prospective studies of red and processed meat intake and prostate cancer,” Nutrition Journal, November 2010. According to the results, “No association between high vs. low red meat consumption… or each 100g increment of red meat… and total prostate cancer was observed. Similarly, no association with red meat was observed for advanced prostate cancer.”