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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1989 Feb 15;81(4):278-86.

Calorie-providing nutrients and risk of breast cancer.

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Epidemiology Unit, Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori, Milan, Italy.


A case-control study was conducted in Italy to investigate the role of diet in breast cancer. Cases were 250 women with breast cancer, and controls were a stratified random sample of 499 women from the general population. A dietary history questionnaire was used to measure the intake of total fat, saturated fat, animal proteins, and other macronutrients. In multivariate analyses, the relative risks of breast cancer for women in the highest quintile of consumption of saturated fat and animal proteins were 3.0 (95% confidence interval, 1.9-4.7) and 2.9 (1.8-4.6), respectively. A reduced risk was found for women who derived less than 28% of calories from fat versus greater than 36%. A similarly reduced risk was found for women who derived less than 9.6% of calories from saturated fat or less than 5.9% from animal proteins. These data suggest that during adult life, a reduction in dietary intake of fat and proteins of animal origin may contribute to a substantial reduction in the incidence of breast cancer in population subgroups with high intake of animal products.

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