Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Consumption of meat, animal products, protein, and fat and risk of breast cancer: a prospective cohort study in New York
Toniolo, P., Riboli, E., Shore, R. E., Pasternack, B. S. Epidemiology. 1994. 5:4, 391-7.
Study design
Nested case-control
Funding agency
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Post menopausal
Pre menopausal
Number in Cohort
Controls: 829; cohort 14,291
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
In: Women enrolled in the New York University Women's Health Study, 35-65 years old and who reported no use of hormonal medications and no pregnancy during the preceding 6 months. Ex: Women who left 8 or more questions blank in the questionnaire.
Comment about participation selection
Annual follow-up questionnaire
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Fat: total, saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated; dairy products
How exposure was measured
Questionnaire, self-administered, FFQ
Exposure assessment comment
71 food items FFQ
Statistical Analysis
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
Confounders considered
Other breast cancer risk factors, such as family history, age at first birth, and hormone replacement therapy use, that were taken into account in the study.
Not considered: BMI, race, parity, family history, alcohol consumption
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Description of major analysis
Adjusted RR with 95% CI, higher versus lower quintile of intake, interaction factor for menopausal status, follow-up 0-6 years, latency 6 months
Strength of associations reported
Total fat: 1.49 (0.89-2.48); saturated fat: 1.47 (0.88-2.46); monounsaturated fat: 1.57 (0.90-2.71); polyunsaturated fat 1.13 (0.65-1.98); dairy products: 0.59 (0.35-0.99)
Results Comments
Total fat and saturated fat intake was only supportive of a weak association with breast cancer, which was limited to the highest level of consumption. Consumption of fat during adulthood does not play as prominent a role in the etiology of breast cancer.
Author address
Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine, New York University Medical Center, NY 10010.