Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Lifetime grain consumption and breast cancer risk

Abstract

We evaluated individual grain-containing foods and whole and refined grain intake during adolescence, early adulthood, and premenopausal years in relation to breast cancer risk in the Nurses’ Health Study II. Grain-containing food intakes were reported on a baseline dietary questionnaire (1991) and every 4 years thereafter. Among 90,516 premenopausal women aged 27–44 years, we prospectively identified 3235 invasive breast cancer cases during follow-up to 2013. 44,263 women reported their diet during high school, and from 1998 to 2013, 1347 breast cancer cases were identified among these women. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate relative risks (RR) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CI) of breast cancer for individual, whole and refined grain foods. After adjusting for known breast cancer risk factors, adult intake of whole grain foods was associated with lower premenopausal breast cancer risk (highest vs. lowest quintile: RR 0.82; 95 % CI 0.70–0.97; P trend = 0.03), but not postmenopausal breast cancer. This association was no longer significant after further adjustment for fiber intake. The average of adolescent and early adulthood whole grain food intake was suggestively associated with lower premenopausal breast cancer risk (highest vs lowest quintile: RR 0.74; 95 % CI 0.56–0.99; P trend = 0.09). Total refined grain food intake was not associated with risk of breast cancer. Most individual grain-containing foods were not associated with breast cancer risk. The exceptions were adult brown rice which was associated with lower risk of overall and premenopausal breast cancer (for each 2 servings/week: RR 0.94; 95 % CI 0.89–0.99 and RR 0.91; 95 % CI 0.85–0.99, respectively) and adult white bread intake which was associated with increased overall breast cancer risk (for each 2 servings/week: RR 1.02; 95 % CI 1.01–1.04), as well as breast cancer before and after menopause. Further, pasta intake was inversely associated with overall breast cancer risk. Our results suggest that high whole grain food intake may be associated with lower breast cancer risk before menopause. Fiber in whole grain foods may mediate the association with whole grains.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

References

  1. 1.

    http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@editorial/documents/document/acspc-044552.pdf

  2. 2.

    Seal CJ, Brownlee IA (2015) Whole-grain foods and chronic disease: evidence from epidemiological and intervention studies. Proc Nutr Soc 74:313–319

  3. 3.

    Aune D, Norat T, Romundstad P, Vatten LJ (2013) Whole grain and refined grain consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of cohort studies. Eur J Epidemiol 28:845–858

  4. 4.

    Cho SS, Qi L, Fahey GC Jr, Klurfeld DM (2013) Consumption of cereal fiber, mixtures of whole grains and bran, and whole grains and risk reduction in type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr 98:594–619

  5. 5.

    Aune D, Chan DS, Lau R, Vieira R, Greenwood DC, Kampman E, Norat T (2011) Dietary fibre, whole grains, and risk of colorectal cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ 343:d6617

  6. 6.

    Egeberg R, Olsen A, Loft S, Christensen J, Johnsen NF, Overvad K, Tjønneland A (2009) Intake of whole grain products and risk of breast cancer by hormone receptor status and histology among postmenopausal women. Int J Cancer 124:745–750

  7. 7.

    Sonestedt E, Borgquist S, Ericson U, Gullberg B, Landberg G, Olsson H, Wirfält E (2008) Plant foods and oestrogen receptor alpha- and beta-defined breast cancer: observations from the Malmo Diet and Cancer cohort. Carcinogenesis 29:2203–2209

  8. 8.

    Nicodemus KK, Jacobs DR Jr, Folsom AR (2001) Whole and refined grain intake and risk of incident postmenopausal breast cancer (United States). Cancer Causes Control 12:917–925

  9. 9.

    Land CE, Tokunaga M, Koyama K, Soda M, Preston DL, Nishimori I, Tokuoka S (2003) Incidence of female breast cancer among atomic bomb survivors, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1950-1990. Radiat Res 160:707–717

  10. 10.

    Swerdlow AJ, Barber JA, Hudson GV, Cunningham D, Gupta RK, Hancock BW, Horwich A, Lister TA, Linch DC (2000) Risk of second malignancy after Hodgkin’s disease in a collaborative British cohort: the relation to age at treatment. J Clin Oncol 18:498–509

  11. 11.

    Wahner-Roedler DL, Nelson DF, Croghan IT, Achenbach SJ, Crowson CS, Hartmann LC, O’Fallon WM (2003) Risk of breast cancer and breast cancer characteristics in women treated with supradiaphragmatic radiation for Hodgkin lymphoma: Mayo Clinic experience. Mayo Clin Proc 78:708–715

  12. 12.

    Farvid MS, Eliassen AH, Cho E, Liao X, Chen WY, Willett WC (2016) Dietary fiber intake in young adults and breast cancer risk. Pediatrics 137:e20151226

  13. 13.

    Willett W, Lenart E (2013) Reproducibility and validity of food frequency questionnaires. Nutritional Epidemiology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 96–141

  14. 14.

    Wu H, Flint AJ, Qi Q, van Dam RM, Sampson LA, Rimm EB, Holmes MD, Willett WC, Hu FB, Sun Q (2015) Association between dietary whole grain intake and risk of mortality: two large prospective studies in US men and women. JAMA Intern Med 175:373–384

  15. 15.

    de Munter JS, Hu FB, Spiegelman D, Franz M, van Dam RM (2007) Whole grain, bran, and germ intake and risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study and systematic review. PLoS Med 4:e261

  16. 16.

    Maruti SS, Feskanich D, Rockett HR, Colditz GA, Sampson LA, Willett WC (2006) Validation of adolescent diet recalled by adults. Epidemiology 17:226–229

  17. 17.

    Maruti SS, Feskanich D, Colditz GA, Frazier AL, Sampson LA, Michels KB, Hunter DJ, Spiegelman D, Willett WC (2005) Adult recall of adolescent diet: reproducibility and comparison with maternal reporting. Am J Epidemiol 161:89–97

  18. 18.

    Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Stason WB, Rosner B, Hennekens CH, Speizer FE (1987) Reproducibility and validity of self-reported menopausal status in a prospective cohort study. Am J Epidemiol 126:319–325

  19. 19.

    Chiuve SE, Fung TT, Rimm EB, Hu FB, McCullough ML, Wang M, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC (2012) Alternative dietary indices both strongly predict risk of chronic disease. J Nutr 142:1009–1018

  20. 20.

    Farvid MS, Cho E, Chen WY, Eliassen AH, Willett WC (2015) Adolescent meat intake and breast cancer risk. Int J Cancer 136:1909–1920

  21. 21.

    Farvid MS, Cho E, Chen WY, Eliassen AH, Willett WC (2014) Dietary protein sources in early adulthood and breast cancer incidence: results from a prospective cohort study. BMJ 348:g3437

  22. 22.

    Farvid MS, Chen WY, Michels KB, Cho E, Willett WC, Eliassen AH (2016) Fruit and vegetable consumption in adolescence and early adulthood and risk of breast cancer: population based cohort study. BMJ 353:i2343

  23. 23.

    Lunn M, McNeil D (1995) Applying Cox regression to competing risks. Biometrics 51:524–532

  24. 24.

    (2012) Arsenic in your food: our findings show a real need for federal standards for this toxin. Consum Rep 77:22–27

  25. 25.

    (2014) FDA data show arsenic in rice juice and beer. Consum Rep 79: 14–15

  26. 26.

    U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products [Internet]. Silver Spring (MD): U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ucm319870.htm

  27. 27.

    Zhang R, Zhang X, Wu K, Wu H, Sun Q, Hu FB, Han J, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL (2016) Rice consumption and cancer incidence in US men and women. Int J Cancer 138:555–564

  28. 28.

    Yun SH, Kim K, Nam SJ, Kong G, Kim MK (2010) The association of carbohydrate intake, glycemic load, glycemic index, and selected rice foods with breast cancer risk: a case-control study in South Korea. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 19:383–392

Download references

Acknowledgments

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health Grants (R01 CA050385, UM1 CA176726) and a grant from The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The study sponsors were not involved in the study design and collection, analysis and interpretation of data, or the writing of the article or the decision to submit it for publication. The authors were independent from study sponsors. We would like to thank the participants and staff of the NHSII for their valuable contributions as well as the following state cancer registries for their help: AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, NE, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WY. The authors’ responsibility were as follows: MSF, EC, WYC, AHE, and WCW designed the research; MSF performed the analysis and wrote the manuscript; MSF and WCW had primary responsibility for the final content of the manuscript; and all authors provided critical input in the writing of the manuscript and read and approved the final manuscript. The authors assume full responsibility for analyses and interpretation of these data.

Author information

Correspondence to Maryam S. Farvid.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed.

Electronic Supplementary Material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 24 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Farvid, M.S., Cho, E., Eliassen, A.H. et al. Lifetime grain consumption and breast cancer risk. Breast Cancer Res Treat 159, 335–345 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10549-016-3910-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Whole grain foods
  • Refined grain foods
  • Breast cancer