Pretreatment Dietary Patterns Are Associated with the Presence of Nutrition Impact Symptoms 1 Year after Diagnosis in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer


Dietary inflammatory potential could impact the presence and severity of chronic adverse treatment effects among patients with head and neck cancer. The objective of this study was to determine whether pretreatment dietary patterns are associatedwith nutrition impact symptoms (NIS) as self-reported 1 year after diagnosis.


This was a longitudinal study of 336 patients with newly diagnosed head and neck cancer enrolled in the University of Michigan Head and Neck Specialized Program of Research Excellence. Principal component analysis was utilized to derive pretreatment dietary patterns from food frequency questionnaire data. Burden of seven NIS was self-reported 1 year after diagnosis. Associations between pretreatment dietary patterns and individual symptoms and a composite NIS summary score were examined with multivariable logistic regression models.


The two dietarypatterns that emerged were prudent and Western. After adjusting for age, smoking status, body mass index, tumor site, cancer stage, calories, and human papillomavirus status, significant inverse associations were observed between the prudent pattern and difficulty chewing [OR 0.44; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.21-0.93; P = 0.03], dysphagia of liquids (OR 0.38; 95% CI, 0.18-0.79; P = 0.009), dysphagia of solid foods (OR 0.46; 95% CI, 0.22-0.96; P = 0.03), mucositis (OR 0.48; 95% CI, 0.24-0.96; P = 0.03), and the NIS summary score (OR 0.45; 95% CI, 0.22-0.94; P = 0.03). No significant associations were observed between the Western pattern and NIS.


Consumption of a prudent diet before treatment may help reduce the risk of chronic NIS burden among head and neck cancer survivors.


Dietary interventions are needed to test whether consumption of a prudent dietary pattern before and during head and neck cancer treatment results in reduced NIS burden.