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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012 Feb;21(2):319-26. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-11-0896. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

ω-3 and ω-6 Polyunsaturated fatty acid intakes and the risk of breast cancer in Mexican women: impact of obesity status.

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Nutrition and Metabolism, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150, cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon cedex 08, France.



ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) could play a protective role on the risk of breast cancer; however, little is known about this relation among Mexican women. We evaluated the association between ω-3 and ω-6 PUFA intake and breast cancer risk by obesity status in Mexican women.


A population-based case-control study was conducted in Mexico, including 1,000 incident breast cancer cases and 1,074 controls matched to cases by age, health care system, and region. Women provided information on health and diet by in-person interview. Body mass index (BMI) measures were used to define overall obesity. Obesity status was categorized as normal weight (18.5 < BMI < 25), overweight (25 ≤ BMI < 30), and obese (BMI ≥ 30). A conditional logistic regression model was used to assess the association between PUFA and breast cancer risk.


Overall, there was no significant association between ω-3 PUFA intake and breast cancer risk (P = 0.31). An increased risk of breast cancer was associated with increasing ω-6 PUFA intake in premenopausal women [OR = 1.92, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.13-3.26; P = 0.04]. A decreased risk of breast cancer was significantly associated with increasing ω-3 PUFA intake in obese women (OR = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.39-0.87; P = 0.008) but not in normal weight nor in overweight women (P(heterogeneity) = 0.017).


Obesity status may affect the association between ω-3 PUFA intake and breast cancer risk. The underlying mechanisms may be related to decreased inflammation and improved adipokin and estrogen levels induced by ω-3 PUFA in adipose tissue in obese women.


Increased intake of ω-3 PUFA should be recommended among Mexican women in particular in obese women.

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