Fiber and laryngeal cancer.




Annals of Oncology

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Fiber
Professional Data: Fiber


Dietary fiber is a general term that refers to a wide variety of compounds found in plants that are resistant to the digestive enzymes produced by humans. Because dietary fiber is resistant to digestive enzymes, it is not broken down or absorbed, which means it does not provide calories or energy to the body. In general, dietary fibers are various forms of complex carbohydrates that have differing abilities to swell by absorbing water into their structural matrix.

A lack of fiber is usually the result of poor food choices, which results in a diet that is deficient in fiber-containing foods. Consuming a diet lacking in fiber increases the risk of developing gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, diverticular disorders, and alterations in glycemic control. It has been recommended that Americans should strive to achieve a total dietary fiber intake of 25 to 30 grams/day, which should preferentially come from foods, not supplements. However, dietary surveys indicate that dietary fiber intake among adults in the United States averages about 15 grams/day, or approximately half the recommended amount.1

A recent study published in the Annals of Oncology stated that a high intake of vegetables and fruits is associated with a lower risk of laryngeal cancer. However, researchers are unsure if this is due to the fiber consumption delivered through the fruits and vegetables. A total of 527 patients with laryngeal cancer were recruited for this study, and a healthy control group was matched for sex and age. All participants answered a food intake questionnaire. After assessment, the results showed that fiber intake from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains were inversely associated to the risk of laryngeal cancer. The authors concluded by stating that there was a, “strong inverse association between fibre intake and laryngeal cancer risk, which points to fibre as one of the beneficial components of vegetables and fruit.”2


1. Alaimo K, McDowell M, Briefel R, Bischof A, Caughman C, Loria C, Johnson C. Dietary intake: vitamins, minerals and fiber of persons age two months and over in the United States: third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey: phase 1, 1988-91. Advance Data. 1994;258:1-28.
2. Pelucchi C, et al. Fibre intake and laryngeal cancer risk. Annals of Oncology 14:162-167, 2003.