In a population-based case-control study of dietary risk factors for pancreatic cancer, a total of 179 cases and 239 controls were interviewed between 1984 and 1988. This study demonstrated an increased risk of pancreas cancer associated with high levels of reported energy intake. After adjustment for age, sex, response status, lifetime cigarette consumption and energy intake, there appeared to be an association with total fat intake (odds ratio in highest quartile relative to lowest quartile 2.24 [95% Confidence Interval (0.74, 6.73)] and, particularly, saturated fat [OR = 4.32, 95% CI(1.39,13.7)]. Although dietary cholesterol intake appeared to increase risk and a number of many micro-nutrients were apparently associated with reductions of risk, none were statistically significant. The results are consistent with a role of nutritional factors in the etiology of pancreatic cancer. The magnitude of the risks involved emphasizes the necessity for larger studies of this topic.