The objective of the present study was to determine the effect of nitrates on the incidence of gastrointestinal (GI) cancer development. Nitrate converted to nitrite under reducing conditions of gut results in the formation of N-nitrosamines which are linked to an increased gastric cancer risk. A population of 234 individuals with 78 cases of GI cancer and 156 controls residing at urban and rural settings in Nagpur and Bhandara districts of India were studied for 2 years using a case-control study. A detailed survey of 16 predictor variables using Formhub software was carried out. Nitrate concentrations in vegetables and primary drinking water supplies were measured. The logistic regression model showed that nitrate was statistically significant in predicting increasing risk of cancer when potential confounders were kept at base level (P value of 0.001 nitrate in drinking water; 0.003 for nitrate in vegetable) at P < 0.01. Exposure to nitrate in drinking water at >45 mg/L level of nitrate was associated with a higher risk of GI cancers. Analysis suggests that nitrate concentration in drinking water was found statistically significant in predicting cancer risk with an odds ratio of 1.20.

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