Prospective evidence on associations between diet quality indices and lung cancer risk is limited, particularly among older women.
We investigated associations between 4 diet quality indices [Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015), Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 (AHEI-2010), alternate Mediterranean Diet (aMED), and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)] and lung cancer incidence and mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study.
Postmenopausal women aged 50–79 y at baseline (1993–1998) self reported their diet intake and information on relevant covariates. We used Cox proportional hazards regression models to estimate HRs and 95% CIs after controlling for age, smoking, and other relevant covariates.
During ∼17 y of follow-up among 86,090 participants, 1491 lung cancer cases and 1393 lung cancer deaths were documented. Dietary indices were not associated with overall lung cancer incidence but were protective against squamous cell carcinoma (12.8% of total lung cancer) cases (HEI-2015: HR: 0.85; 95% CI: 0.76, 0.96; AHEI-2010: HR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.78, 0.98; aMED: HR: 0.90; 95% CI: 0.81, 0.99; DASH: HR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.77, 0.98). Among the indices, only HEI-2015 showed an inverse trend (P-trend = 0.02) with overall lung cancer mortality. Smoking status or participant age at baseline did not modify the association between dietary indices and lung cancer incidence or mortality.
After comprehensive control of smoking exposure, we found that diet quality was not associated with overall lung cancer among postmenopausal women. However, a high-quality diet was inversely related to incident lung cancer of the squamous cell subtype. Future studies in populations with diverse age, smoking history, and dietary intake may further elucidate the relation between diet quality indices and lung cancer, especially by histological subtype