Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 134, Issue 2, pp 479–493 | Cite as

Fruits, vegetables and breast cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies

  • D. AuneEmail author
  • D. S. M. Chan
  • A. R. Vieira
  • D. A. Navarro Rosenblatt
  • R. Vieira
  • D. C. Greenwood
  • T. Norat


Evidence for an association between fruit and vegetable intake and breast cancer risk is inconclusive. To clarify the association, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence from prospective studies. We searched PubMed for prospective studies of fruit and vegetable intake and breast cancer risk until April 30, 2011. We included fifteen prospective studies that reported relative risk estimates and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) of breast cancer associated with fruit and vegetable intake. Random effects models were used to estimate summary relative risks. The summary relative risk (RR) for the highest versus the lowest intake was 0.89 (95 % CI: 0.80–0.99, I 2 = 0 %) for fruits and vegetables combined, 0.92 (95 % CI: 0.86–0.98, I 2 = 9 %) for fruits, and 0.99 (95 % CI: 0.92–1.06, I 2 = 20 %) for vegetables. In dose–response analyses, the summary RR per 200 g/day was 0.96 (95 % CI: 0.93–1.00, I 2 = 2 %) for fruits and vegetables combined, 0.94 (95 % CI: 0.89–1.00, I 2 = 39 %) for fruits, and 1.00 (95 % CI: 0.95–1.06, I 2 = 17 %) for vegetables. In this meta-analysis of prospective studies, high intake of fruits, and fruits and vegetables combined, but not vegetables, is associated with a weak reduction in risk of breast cancer.


Fruits Vegetables Breast cancer Systematic review Meta-analysis 



We thank the systematic literature review team at the Istituto Nazionale Tumori Milan for their contributions to the breast cancer database. This work was funded by the World Cancer Research Fund (Grant No. 2007/SP01) as part of the Continuous Update Project. The views expressed in this review are the opinions of the authors. They may not represent the views of WCRF International/AICR and may differ from those in future updates of the evidence related to food, nutrition, physical activity, and cancer risk. All authors had full access to all of the data in the study. D. Aune takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


The sponsor of this study had no role in the decisions about the design and conduct of the study, collection, management, analysis or interpretation of the data or the preparation, review or approval of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Aune
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. S. M. Chan
    • 1
  • A. R. Vieira
    • 1
  • D. A. Navarro Rosenblatt
    • 1
  • R. Vieira
    • 1
  • D. C. Greenwood
    • 2
  • T. Norat
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public HealthImperial College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Biostatistics Unit, Centre for Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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