Epidemiological studies of oats consumption and risk of cancer and overall mortality

Paolo Boffetta, Frank Thies, Penny Kris-Etherton

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A review of epidemiological studies on the intake of oats and oat-based products and its effect on the risk of chronic disease and deaths was performed. Seven studies were identified of cancer risk (two each on prostate and colorectal cancer, and one each on pancreatic, breast and endometrial cancer), and one study on overall mortality. With the exception of a case-control study of pancreatic cancer, all studies were of cohort design: five studies were based on a single cohort from Denmark. The results of most cohort studies suggest a weak protective effect of a high intake of oats on cancer risk (relative risks in the order of 0·9). Potential limitations of the studies are dietary exposure misclassification, low statistical power because of limited exposure contrast and residual confounding. Despite the evidence from experimental and mechanistic studies of a protective effect of oats intake on CVD and diabetes, no epidemiological studies have been conducted on these conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S14-S18
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue numberSuppl 2
Early online date30 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

Bibliographical note


P. B., F. T. and P. K.-E. each received an honorarium from Quaker Oats Company (a subsidiary of PepsiCo, Inc.) for attending a workshop in May 2012 to discuss the content of the supplement. P. B. (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai), F. T. (University of Aberdeen) and P. K.-E. (Pennsylvania State University) received unrestricted grants from Quaker Oats Company.

The authors’ contributions are as follows: P. B., F. T. and P. K.-E. conceived the review; P. B. extracted the data and prepared the first draft of the paper. All authors reviewed and commented on the paper.

This paper was published as part of a supplement to British Journal of Nutrition, publication of which was supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Quaker Oats Co. (a subsidiary of PepsiCo Inc.). The papers included in this supplement were invited by the Guest Editor and have undergone the standard journal formal review process. They may be cited.


  • Avena
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Colorectal Neoplasms
  • Diet
  • Edible Grain
  • Endometrial Neoplasms
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms
  • Prostatic Neoplasms
  • Risk
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Oats
  • Neoplasm
  • Epidemiology


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