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Is High Citrus Consumption Associated With Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Risk?

By: Julia Fiederlein
Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2021

According to a study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, high citrus consumption did not seem to be associated with an increased risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer. However, Xin Li, ScD, of the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indianapolis, and colleagues explained that further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

“Psoralen, a known photocarcinogen, is naturally abundant in citrus products,” the investigators commented. “Unlike previous results, our findings do not support the biologically plausible hypothesis of high citrus consumption increasing non-melanoma skin cancer risk due to the phototoxicity and photocarcinogenicity of psoralen.”

The investigators fitted age- and multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models to evaluate the association between citrus consumption and non-melanoma skin cancer risk among 197,372 UK Biobank participants. In this study population, a total of 9,613 non-melanoma skin cancer cases were identified using International Classification of Disease 10 codes. Analyses of citrus consumption data were based on the results of five rounds of 24-hour recall questionnaires.

The risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer did not seem to be associated with high total citrus consumption; however, a slightly elevated risk was observed among patients who consumed up to half a serving of total citrus per day (odds ratio = 1.08). According to the investigators, there did not appear to be an association between the consumption of individual citrus products (grapefruit, grapefruit juice, orange, orange juice, and satsuma) and non-melanoma skin cancer risk.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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