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Nutr Cancer. 2012 Aug;64(6):806-19. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2012.707277. Epub 2012 Aug 3.

Fruit, vegetable, and animal food intake and breast cancer risk by hormone receptor status.

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Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.


The effects of diet on breast cancer are controversial and whether the effects vary with hormone receptor status has not been well investigated. This study evaluated the associations of dietary factors with risk for breast cancer overall and by the hormone receptor status of tumors among Chinese women. The Shanghai Breast Cancer Study, a large, population-based, case-control study, enrolled 3,443 cases and 3,474 controls in 1996-1998 (phase I) and 2002-2005 (phase II); 2676 cases had estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) data. Dietary intake was assessed using a validated, quantitative, food frequency questionnaire. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were derived from multivariate, polychotomous, unconditional logistic regression models. Total vegetable intake was inversely related to breast cancer risk, with an adjusted OR for the highest quintile of 0.80 (95% CI = 0.67-0.95; P trend = 0.02). Reduced risk was also related to high intake of allium vegetables (P trend = 0.01) and fresh legumes (P trend = 0.0008). High intake of citrus fruits and rosaceae fruits were inversely associated with breast cancer risk (P trend = 0.003 and 0.004, respectively), although no consistent association was seen for total fruit intake. Elevated risk was observed for all types of meat and fish intake (all P trend < 0.05), whereas intakes of eggs and milk were associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer (both P trend <0.05). There was little evidence that associations with dietary intakes varied across the 4 tumor subtypes or between ER+/PR+ and ER-/PR- tumors (P for heterogeneity >0.05). Our results suggest that high intake of total vegetables, certain fruits, milk, and eggs may reduce the risk of breast cancer, whereas high consumption of animal-source foods may increase risk. The dietary associations did not appear to vary by ER/PR status.

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