By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.

H Pan et al, 2024. The causal association between artificial sweeteners and the risk of cancer: a Mendelian randomization study, Food and Function

The causal association between artificial sweeteners and the risk of cancer: a Mendelian randomization study

H Pan
Food and Function
April 11, 2024


Artificial sweeteners (ASs) have been widely added to food and beverages because of their properties of low calories and sweet taste. However, whether the consumption of ASs is causally associated with cancer risk is not clear. Here, we utilized the two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) method to study the potential causal association. Genetic variants like single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with exposure (AS consumption) were extracted from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) database including 64 949 Europeans and the influence of confounding was removed. The outcome was from 98 GWAS data and included several types of cancers like lung cancer, colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, and so on. The exposure-outcome SNPs were harmonized and then MR analysis was performed. The inverse-variance weighted (IVW) with random effects was used as the main analytical method accompanied by four complementary methods: MR Egger, weighted median, simple mode, and weighted mode. Sensitivity analyses consisted of heterogeneity, pleiotropy, and leave-one-out analysis. Our results demonstrated that ASs added to coffee had a positive association with high-grade and low-grade serous ovarian cancer; ASs added to tea had a positive association with oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers, but a negative association with malignant neoplasm of the bronchus and lungs. No other cancers had a genetic causal association with AS consumption. Our MR study revealed that AS consumption had no genetic causal association with major cancers. Larger MR studies or RCTs are needed to investigate small effects and support this conclusion.

More research

All research