Folate, vitamin B12 and postmenopausal breast cancer in a prospective study of French women
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Adequate folate intake may be important for breast cancer prevention. Its protective effect may be influenced by factors associated with folate metabolism. We sought to evaluate folate intake in relation to breast cancer risk and examine whether the relation is affected by alcohol and intake of vitamin B2 and B12.
A prospective cohort analysis of folate intake was conducted among 62,739 postmenopausal women in the French E3N cohort who had completed a validated food frequency questionnaire in 1993. During nine years’ follow-up, 1,812 cases of pathology-confirmed breast cancer were documented through follow-up questionnaires. Nutrients were categorized in quintiles and energy-adjusted using the regression-residual method. Cox model-derived relative risks (RRs) were adjusted for known breast cancer determinants.
The multivariate RR for extreme quintiles of folate intake was 0.78 (95% CI: 0.67–0.90; p-trend = 0.001) [Median intake for Q1 = 296 μg/day and Q5 = 522 μg/day]. There was no evidence to support effect modification by alcohol or B2 intake. The decreasing trend was most marked in women with higher folate and vitamin B12 intake. However, test for interaction was not statistically significant (p = 0.29).
High folate intake was associated with decreased breast cancer risk. Vitamin B12 intake may modify this association.
KeywordsBreast cancer Women Nutrition Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin B2 Alcohol Diet
The E3N team is indebted to all participants for providing the data used in this study, to their physicians for providing pathology reports, and to G. Evans for the linguistic revision of the manuscript. We thank the French League against Cancer, the European Community, the 3M Company, the Mutuelle Générale de l’Education Nationale, the Institut Gustave Roussy and the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale for their financial support of the E3N study.
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