Diets high in vegetables and fruits have been suggested to be inversely associated with risk of gastric cancer. However, the evidence of the effect of variety of consumption is limited. We therefore investigated whether consumption of a variety of vegetables and fruit is associated with gastric and esophageal cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Data on food consumption and follow-up on cancer incidence were available for 452,269 participants from 10 European countries. After a mean follow-up of 8.4 years, 475 cases of gastric and esophageal adenocarcinomas (180 noncardia, 185 cardia, gastric esophageal junction and esophagus, 110 not specified) and 98 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas were observed. Diet Diversity Scores were used to quantify the variety in vegetable and fruit consumption. We used multivariable Cox proportional hazard models to calculate risk ratios. Independent from quantity of consumption, variety in the consumption of vegetables and fruit combined and of fruit consumption alone were statistically significantly inversely associated with the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (continuous hazard ratio per 2 products increment 0.88; 95% CI 0.79-0.97 and 0.76; 95% CI 0.62-0.94, respectively) with the latter particularly seen in ever smokers. Variety in vegetable and/or fruit consumption was not associated with risk of gastric and esophageal adenocarcinomas. Independent from quantity of consumption, more variety in vegetable and fruit consumption combined and in fruit consumption alone may decrease the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. However, residual confounding by lifestyle factors cannot be excluded.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Cancer

Publication Date





E963 - E973


Adenocarcinoma, Adult, Carcinoma, Squamous Cell, Esophageal Neoplasms, Europe, Female, Fruit, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Proportional Hazards Models, Prospective Studies, Risk, Stomach Neoplasms, Vegetables