Epidemiology

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 132, Issue 3, pp 1157-1162

First online:

A dietary pattern derived to correlate with estrogens and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer

  • Teresa T. FungAffiliated withDepartment of Nutrition, Simmons CollegeDepartment of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health Email author 
  • , Matthias B. SchulzeAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular Epidemiology, German Institute of Nutrition
  • , Frank B. HuAffiliated withDepartment of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public HealthChanning Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
  • , Susan E. HankinsonAffiliated withChanning Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolSchool of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • , Michelle D. HolmesAffiliated withChanning Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

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Abstract

Circulating estrogens are an established risk factor for breast cancer and some data suggest that diet may influence estrogen levels. Therefore, using a subsample (n = 550) of women from a large cohort, we applied reduced rank regression to identify a dietary pattern that was correlated with estradiol and estrone sulfate. We then adapted the pattern to be used with the full cohort (n = 67,802) and prospectively assessed its association with postmenopausal breast cancer. The estrogen food pattern, characterized by higher intakes of red meat, legumes, and pizza, but lower intakes of coffee and whole grains, was modestly but significantly correlated with estradiol (r = 0.14) and estrone sulfate (r = 0.20). During 22 years of follow-up, we ascertained 4,596 incident breast cancer, with 2,938 estrogen receptor-positive tumors and 689 estrogen receptor-negative tumors. However, after adjusting for potential confounders, we did not observe any association with overall estrogen receptor-positive or estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer. In conclusion, diet pattern appeared to only have modest association with estrogens, and was not associated with postmenopausal breast cancer risk. Although these results were null, it should be repeated in other populations as differences in food intake may yield a dietary pattern with stronger association with estrogens.

Keywords

Diet Reduced rank regression Estrogen Breast cancer