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Nutr Cancer. 2000;37(2):134-9.

Food sources of phytoestrogens and breast cancer risk in Mexican women.

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Center for Research on Health Services, National Institute of Public Health, Mexico, CP 62508, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.


We analyzed the intake of selected foods that contain phytoestrogens in relation to breast cancer (BC) risk using data from a hospital-based case-control study performed in Mexico City from 1994 to 1995. A total of 198 women with BC, aged 21-79 years, were individually age matched to an identical number of women with no breast disease. By a direct interview, information on socioeconomic characteristics and diet was obtained. A semiquantitative questionnaire was used to estimate the frequency of consumption of 95 foods. The effect of selected foods that contain phytoestrogens on BC risk was estimated using logistic regression models. The adjusted odds ratio for the consumption of more than one slice of onion per day and BC was 0.27 (95% confidence interval = 0.16-0.47), with a statistically significant trend (p < 0.001). This protective effect remained after adjustment for known risk factors of BC. Among premenopausal women, there was also a protective and significant effect due to the intake of lettuce and spinach and nonsignificant protective effects for the consumption of apples and herbal tea. Additional studies aimed at evaluating the potential protective effect of particular phytoestrogens on BC risk are needed.

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