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Cancer Sci. 2005 Sep;96(9):590-9.

Dietary intakes of fat and fatty acids and risk of breast cancer: a prospective study in Japan.

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Division of Epidemiology and Prevention, Aichi Cancer Center Research Institute, 1-1 Kanokoden, Nagoya 464-8681, Japan.


To examine the possible association of dietary fat and fatty acids with breast cancer risk in a population with a low total fat intake and a high consumption of fish, we analyzed data from the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study. From 1988 to 1990, 26 291 women aged 40-79 years completed a questionnaire on dietary and other factors. Intakes of fat or fatty acids were estimated by using a food frequency questionnaire. Rate ratios (RR) were computed by fitting proportional hazards models. During the mean follow-up of 7.6 years, 129 breast cancer cases were documented. We found no clear association of total fat intake with breast cancer risk; the multivariate-adjusted RR across quartiles were 1.00, 1.29, 0.95, and 0.80 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.46-1.38). A significant decrease in the risk was detected for the highest quartile of intake compared with the lowest for fish fat and long-chain n-3 fatty acids; the RR were 0.56 (95% CI 0.33-0.94) and 0.50 (0.30-0.85), respectively. A decreasing trend in risk was also suggested with an increasing intake of saturated fatty acids (trend P = 0.066). Among postmenopausal women at baseline, the highest quartile of vegetable fat intake was associated with a 2.08-fold increase in risk (95% CI 1.05-4.13). This prospective study did not support any increase in the risk of breast cancer associated with total or saturated fat intake, but it suggested the protective effects of the long-chain n-3 fatty acids that are abundant in fish.

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