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Association of sugary beverages with survival among patients with cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract



The role of consumption of added sugars in cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) is unclear. We examined associations between sugary beverages and susceptibility to UADT cancer as well as overall survival among UADT cancer patients.


The association between dietary added sugar and susceptibility to UADT cancers or overall survival among 601 UADT cancer cases was evaluated using data from a population-based case-control study conducted in Los Angeles County. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) for cancer susceptibility, and Cox regression was used to estimate hazards ratios (HRs) with 95 % CIs for survival, adjusting for relevant confounders.


A total of 248 deaths were observed during follow-up (median 12.1 years). A positive association was observed with consumption of grams of sugar from beverages, including soft drinks and fruit juices, and poorer survival among UADT cancer cases (aHR, Q4 vs. Q1:1.88; 95 % CI 1.29, 2.72; p for trend = 0.002), as well as servings of sugary beverages (aHR, Q4 vs. Q1: 95 % CI 1.97, 95 % CI 1.32-2.93). This was due largely to consumption of sugars from soft drinks. Particularly, high consumption of sugary beverages was associated with poorer survival among esophageal cancer cases, driven by squamous cancers. No association was observed between sugary beverages and cancer susceptibility.


These findings suggest that consumption of sugary beverages may decrease survival associated with UADT cancers. Additional studies should be conducted to examine survival among cancer patients consuming high amounts of added or refined sugars. Such studies may highlight prognostic factors for UADT cancers.

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