Circadian nutritional behaviours and cancer risk: New insights from the NutriNet-santé prospective cohort study: Disclaimers

Int J Cancer. 2018 143(10):2369-2379

Srour B, Plancoulaine S, Andreeva VA, Fassier P, Julia C, Galan P, Hercberg S, Deschasaux M, Latino-Martel P, Touvier M.

Circadian disruption has been classified as probably carcinogenic to humans by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer. The circadian clock is subject to environmental factors, particularly light exposure and food intake rhythms. However, the association between nutritional circadian behaviours and cancer is not well understood. We investigated the longitudinal associations between number of eating episodes, night-time fasting duration, time of first and last eating episodes, as well as nutritional quality of last eating episode, respectively, with breast and prostate cancer risks, the two main cancer locations in women and men respectively. This prospective study included 41,389 day-working adults in the French NutriNet-Santé cohort (2009-2016) who completed at least three 24 h dietary records during the first 2 years of follow-up. Multivariable Cox models were computed. 1,732 first primary incident cancer cases were diagnosed during the follow-up, among which 428 breast and 179 prostate cancers. After adjustment for covariates including sleep duration, late eaters (last eating episode after 9:30 pm) had an increased risk of breast (Hazard ratio [HR] = 1.48 [1.02-2.17], p = 0.03) and prostate (HR = 2.20 [1.28-3.78], p = 0.004) cancers. However, no association was observed between cancer risk and number of eating episodes, night-time fasting duration, time of first eating episode or macronutrient composition of the last eating episode. This large cohort study suggests that circadian perturbations resulting from late time of last food intake may be involved in carcinogenesis at different locations. Beyond nutritional quality of food intake, nutritional circadian regulation should be further investigated in the context of cancer prevention.