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Rev Med Chil. 2012 Feb;140(2):251-60. doi: 10.4067/S0034-98872012000200016.

[Folate and breast cancer risk: a systematic review].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Grup de Recerca en Nutrició Comunitària i Estrès Oxidatiu, Dpt. Biología Fonamental i Ciències de la Salut, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Illes Balears, España.


An increased folate intake may be beneficial in deficient populations. However, in women with adequate levels it may not deliver additional benefits while it may increase the risk for some forms of cancer. A systematic literature review of benefits or risks of folate in the development of breast cancer was performed using MEDLINE, systematic review of selected articles and references of the selected articles looking specifically at serum folate levels, dietary folate intake or total folate intake and the risk of developing breast cancer. Fourteen case-control studies, fourteen cohort studies, seven case-control nested studies, two randomized trials and two meta-analyses were selected for analysis based on pre-established criteria. The reviewed evidence does not support the hypothesis that higher intakes of dietary folate reduce the risk for breast cancer. Some studies showed a higher risk of breast cancer in populations exposed to high folate intake post fortification, especially when folic acid is used. The results support the need to be cautious and to limit the exposure of women to high intakes of folic acid, especially in countries with mandatory food fortification.

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