Table 3

Associations of the eight component characteristics of the Mediterranean diet with selected cancer sites, as ascertained in case-control studies undertaken in Mediterranean populationsa

StomachLarge bowelPancreasBreastEndometriumProstate
FruitsStrongly inverseWeakly inverseWeakly inverseWeakly inverseWeakly inverseNEb
VegetablesStrongly inverseModerately inverseWeakly inverseWeakly inverseWeakly inverseWeakly inverse
LegumesNEWeakly inverseNEWeakly inverseNENE
CerealsNENENEWeakly inverseWeakly inverseNE
MeatWeakly positiveModerately positiveWeakly positiveWeakly positiveNENE
Dairy productsNEWeakly positiveNENENEWeakly positive
Monounsaturated:saturated lipid ratioNEWeakly inverseNEWeakly inverseWeakly inverseWeakly inverse
AlcoholWeakly positiveNENEModerately positiveNENE
  • a In each cell, the direction and strength of the association is indicated, together with the number of studies that pointed to that direction out of the total that have adequately examined the particular association. Cancers for which a nonnutritional factor of overriding etiological importance has been identified, have not been included in the table (oral cavity, larynx, lung, and urinary bladder excluded because of the effects of smoking; hepatocellular carcinoma and cervix uteri excluded because of the effects of viral etiology; ovarian cancer excluded because of the effects of oral contraceptives and reproductive factors).

  • b NE, no evident association.