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Cancer Causes Control. 2010 Jul;21(7):1033-46. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9532-7. Epub 2010 Mar 14.

Intake of fiber and nuts during adolescence and incidence of proliferative benign breast disease.

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  • 1Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 181 Longwood Avenue, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



We examined the association between adolescent fiber intake and proliferative BBD, a marker of increased breast cancer risk, in the Nurses' Health Study II.


Among 29,480 women who completed a high school diet questionnaire in 1998, 682 proliferative BBD cases were identified and confirmed by centralized pathology review between 1991 and 2001. Multivariate-adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


Women in the highest quintile of adolescent fiber intake had a 25% lower risk of proliferative BBD (multivariate HR (95% CI): 0.75 (0.59, 0.96), p-trend = 0.01) than women in the lowest quintile. High school intake of nuts was also related to significantly reduced BBD risk. Women consuming >or=2 servings of nuts/week had a 36% lower risk (multivariate HR (95% CI): 0.64 (0.48, 0.85), p-trend < 0.01) than women consuming <1 serving/month. Results were essentially the same when the analysis was restricted to prospective cases (n = 142) diagnosed after return of the high school diet questionnaire.


These findings support the hypothesis that dietary intake of fiber and nuts during adolescence influences subsequent risk of breast disease and may suggest a viable means for breast cancer prevention.

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