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Objective: To explore the association of spicy food consumption and risk of lip, oral cavity, and pharynx cancers (LOCPs) in Chinese adults. Methods: Based on the baseline survey and long-term follow-up of the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) study, Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for associations between spicy food consumption and LOCPs incidence. Results: Of the 510 145 participants included at baseline, 30.1% reported daily spicy food consumption. During a mean follow-up of 10.8 (2.0) years, we documented 767 LOCPs cases. Multivariate adjusted analyses showed that the risk of LOCPs incidence decreased with the frequency of spicy food intake (trend P=0.003), with HR of 0.69 (95%CI:0.54-0.88) for daily spicy food consumers, compared with never or occasional consumers. Participants who preferred moderate pungency degrees had the lowest risk of LOCPs, with a 33%[0.67(95%CI:0.52-0.87)] reduced risk compared to those who consumed spicy food less than once per week. The later the starting age, the lower the risk (trend P=0.004). Those who started eating spicy food after 18 years old had the lowest risk of LOCPs incidence, with adjusted HR (95%CI) of 0.70(0.54-0.92). Conclusions: Spicy food intake might be associated with a decreased risk of LOCPs incidence. Such association was independent of healthy lifestyles. Advocating moderate-pungency spicy food consumption and healthy lifestyles might help prevent LOCPs.

Original publication




Journal article


Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi

Publication Date





169 - 174


Adolescent, Adult, China, Humans, Lip, Pharyngeal Neoplasms, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors, Spices