Altered Food Behavior and Cancer: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Daniele Nucci, Omar Enzo Santangelo*, Sandro Provenzano, Mariateresa Nardi, Alberto Firenze, Vincenza Gianfredi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


There is evidence of an association between cancer and certain types of altered eating behaviors, including orthorexia, food cravings, and food addiction. Given the growing interest in the topic throughout the scientific community we conducted a systematic review to summarize current evidence on the development of altered food behavior, including food addiction and cancer. The Cochrane Collaboration and the Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology guidelines were followed to perform this systematic review. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement was used to report the process and results. The structured literature search was conducted on 19 April 2022, on PubMed/Medline and Scopus, combining free-text terms and medical subject headings. A total of seven articles were included once the selection process was completed. Food craving has been associated with different types of cancer in adults and young patients, as well as with orthorexia; conversely, compulsive eating has only been explored in patients with prolactinoma treated with dopamine agonists. This systematic review explored a new area of research that warrants further investigation. More research is required to better understand the relationship between cancer and food behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10299
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2022


  • Adult
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms/epidemiology
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • PubMed

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