Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Premenopausal fat intake and risk of breast cancer
Cho, E., Spiegelman, D., Hunter, D. J., Chen, W. Y., Stampfer, M. J., Colditz, G. A., Willett, W. C. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003. 95:14, 1079-85.
Study design
Prospective cohort
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Postmenopausal and premenopausal combined
Number in Cohort
Cohort 90,655
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
In: Registered nurses aged 25 to 42 years in 1989 participating in the NHS II Ex: Women with implausible total energy intake, who left more than 70 food items blank in the 1991 FFQ, who reported a diagnosis of cancer other than nonmelanoma skin cancer at baseline, and who were postmenopausal at baseline.
Comment about participation selection
Biennial follow-up with questionnaire
Exposures investigated
Total fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, total dairy foods, high-fat dairy foods
How exposure was measured
Questionnaire, self-administered, 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: Race
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; stratification by ER and PR; separate analysis for animal fat intake by different level of risk factors (family history of breast cancer, BMI, oral contraceptive use, history of benign breast
Strength of associations reported
Total fat: 1.25 (0.98-1.59), saturated fat: 1.06 (0.74-1.53), monounsaturated fat: 1.10 (0.75-1.62), polyunsaturated fat: 0.96 (0.73-1.27), total dairy foods 1.03 (0.79 - 1.36), high-fat dairy foods 1.36 (1.07 - 1.75)
Results Comments
No clear association between total fat intake and breast cancer risk during early adulthood. However, intake of animal fat, mostly contributed by red meat and high-fat dairy foods, was associated with an elevated risk of breast cancer.
Author address
Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA. eunyoung.cho@channing.harvard.edu