Dairy and meat consumption may impact breast cancer risk through modification of hormones (e.g., estrogen), through specific nutrients (e.g., vitamin D), or through products formed in processing/cooking (e.g., heterocyclic amines). Results relating meat and dairy intake to breast cancer risk have been conflicting. Thus, we examined the risk of breast cancer in relation to intake of dairy and meat in a large prospective cohort study.
In the Black Women’s Health Study, 1,268 incident breast cancer cases were identified among 52,062 women during 12 years of follow-up. Multivariable (MV) relative risks (RRs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models.
Null associations were observed for total milk (MV RR = 1.05, 95 % CI 0.74–1.46 comparing ≥1,000–0 g/week) and total meat (MV RR = 1.04, 95 % CI 0.85–1.28 comparing ≥1,000 < 400 g/week) intake and risk of breast cancer. Associations with intakes of specific types of dairy, specific types of meat, and dietary calcium and vitamin D were also null. The associations were not modified by reproductive (e.g., parity) or lifestyle factors (e.g., smoking). Associations with estrogen receptor (ER) positive (+), ER negative (−), progesterone receptor (PR) +, PR−, ER+/PR+, and ER−/PR− breast cancer were generally null.
This analysis of African-American women provides little support for associations of dairy and meat intake with breast cancer risk.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
American Cancer Society (2012) Cancer Facts & Figures 2012. American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA
Honegger A, Humbel RE (1986) Insulin-like growth factors I and II in fetal and adult bovine serum. Purification, primary structures, and immunological cross-reactivities. J Biol Chem 261:569–575
Zapf J, Froesch ER, Humbel RE (1981) The insulin-like growth factors (IGF) of human serum: chemical and biological characterization and aspects of their possible physiological role. Curr Top Cell Regul 19:257–309
Outwater JL, Nicholson A, Barnard N (1997) Dairy products and breast cancer: the IGF-I, estrogen, and bGH hypothesis. Med Hypotheses 48:453–461
Cui Y, Rohan TE (2006) Vitamin D, calcium, and breast cancer risk: a review. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 15:1427–1437
Heaney RP (2008) Vitamin D and calcium interactions: functional outcomes. Am J Clin Nutr 88:541S–544S
Cross HS, Peterlik M (2009) Vitamin D, calcium, and cancer. Anticancer Res 29:3685
Peterlik M, Cross HS (2005) Vitamin D and calcium deficits predispose for multiple chronic diseases. Eur J Clin Invest 35:290–304
Peterlik M, Grant WB, Cross HS (2009) Calcium, vitamin D and cancer. Anticancer Res 29:3687–3698
Giovannucci E (2005) The epidemiology of vitamin D and cancer incidence and mortality: a review (United States). Cancer Causes Control 16:83–95
Giovannucci E, Liu Y, Rimm EB et al (2006) Prospective study of predictors of vitamin D status and cancer incidence and mortality in men. J Natl Cancer Inst 98:451–459
Guzey M, DeLuca HF (1997) A group of deltanoids (vitamin D analogs) regulate cell growth and proliferation in small cell carcinoma cell lines. Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol 98:3–18
Genkinger JM, Koushik A (2007) Meat consumption and cancer risk. PLoS Med 4:e345
Lijinsky W (1999) N-Nitroso compounds in the diet. Mutat Res 443:129–138
Sinha R, Norat T (2002) Meat cooking and cancer risk. IARC Sci Publ 156:181–186
World Cancer Research Fund, Panel AIfCRE (2007) Food, nutrition, physical activity and the prevention of cancer: a global perspective. American Institute for Cancer Research, Washington, DC
Pala V, Krogh V, Berrino F et al (2009) Meat, eggs, dairy products, and risk of breast cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Am J Clin Nutr 90:602–612
Dong JY, Zhang L, He K, Qin LQ (2011) Dairy consumption and risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Breast Cancer Res Treat 127:23–31
Larsson SC, Bergkvist L, Wolk A (2009) Long-term meat intake and risk of breast cancer by oestrogen and progesterone receptor status in a cohort of Swedish women. Eur J Cancer 45:3042–3046
Cho E, Chen WY, Hunter DJ et al (2006) Red meat intake and risk of breast cancer among premenopausal women. Arch Intern Med 166:2253–2259
Rosenberg L, Adams-Campbell L, Palmer JR (1995) The Black Women’s Health Study: a follow-up study for causes and preventions of illness. J Am Med Women’s Assoc 50:56–58
Block G, Hartman AM, Dresser CM, Carroll MD, Gannon J, Gardner L (1986) A data-based approach to diet questionnaire design and testing. Am J Epidemiol 124:453–469
Willett W (1998) Nutritional epidemiology, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, New York
National Cancer Institute (2005) Diet*Calc analysis program, version 1.4.3. National Cancer Institute, Applied Research Program, Bethesda, MD
Puckett CD (1986) The educational annotation of ICD-9-CM; Diseases and procedures tabular lists. Channel Pub, Reno, NV
World Health Organization (2009) International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision. World Health Organization, Geneva
Palmer JR, Boggs DA, Wise LA, Ambrosone CB, Adams-Campbell LL, Rosenberg L (2011) Parity and lactation in relation to estrogen receptor negative breast cancer in African American women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 20:1883–1891
Smith-Warner SA, Spiegelman D, Ritz J et al (2006) Methods for pooling results of epidemiologic studies: the Pooling Project of Prospective Studies of Diet and Cancer. Am J Epidemiol 163:1053–1064
Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Rimm E et al (1999) Dietary fat and coronary heart disease: a comparison of approaches for adjusting for total energy intake and modeling repeated dietary measurements. Am J Epidemiol 149:531–540
Chen WY, Colditz GA (2007) Risk factors and hormone–receptor status: epidemiology, risk–prediction models and treatment implications for breast cancer. Nat Clin Pract Oncol 4:415–423
Chlebowski RT, Anderson GL, Lane DS et al (2007) Predicting risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women by hormone receptor status. J Natl Cancer Inst 99:1695–1705
Lipkin M, Newmark HL (1999) Vitamin D, calcium and prevention of breast cancer: a review. J Am Coll Nutr 18:392S–397S
Al Sarakbi W, Salhab M, Mokbel K (2005) Dairy products and breast cancer risk: a review of the literature. Int J Fertil Women’s Med 50:244–249
Kritchevsky D (2000) Antimutagenic and some other effects of conjugated linoleic acid. Br J Nutr 83:459–465
Ip C, Chin SF, Scimeca JA, Pariza MW (1991) Mammary cancer prevention by conjugated dienoic derivative of linoleic acid. Cancer Res 51:6118–6124
Jones JI, Clemmons DR (1995) Insulin-like growth factors and their binding proteins: biological actions. Endocr Rev 16:3–34
Pietrzkowski Z, Mulholland G, Gomella L, Jameson BA, Wernicke D, Baserga R (1993) Inhibition of growth of prostatic cancer cell lines by peptide analogues of insulin-like growth factor 1. Cancer Res 53:1102–1106
Cohen P, Peehl DM, Lamson G, Rosenfeld RG (1991) Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), IGF receptors, and IGF-binding proteins in primary cultures of prostate epithelial cells. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 73:401–407
Ngo TH, Barnard RJ, Leung PS, Cohen P, Aronson WJ (2003) Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and IGF binding protein-1 modulate prostate cancer cell growth and apoptosis: possible mediators for the effects of diet and exercise on cancer cell survival. Endocrinology 144:2319–2324
Kaplan PJ, Mohan S, Cohen P, Foster BA, Greenberg NM (1999) The insulin-like growth factor axis and prostate cancer: lessons from the transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP) model. Cancer Res 59:2203–2209
Ruan W, Powell-Braxton L, Kopchick JJ, Kleinberg DL (1999) Evidence that insulin-like growth factor I and growth hormone are required for prostate gland development. Endocrinology 140:1984–1989
DiGiovanni J, Kiguchi K, Frijhoff A et al (2000) Deregulated expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 in prostate epithelium leads to neoplasia in transgenic mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 97:3455–3460
Keith JN, Nicholls J, Reed A, Kafer K, Miller GD (2011) The prevalence of self-reported lactose intolerance and the consumption of dairy foods among African American adults are less than expected. J Natl Med Assoc 103:36–45
Sahi T (1994) Genetics and epidemiology of adult-type hypolactasia. Scand J Gastroenterol Suppl 202:7–20
We gratefully acknowledge the continuing dedication of the Black Women’s Health Study participants and staff. Data on breast cancer pathology were obtained from several state cancer registries (AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IN, IL, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, and VA), and results reported do not necessarily represent their views. This study was supported by National Cancer Institute Grant R01 CA058420. The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
About this article
Cite this article
Genkinger, J.M., Makambi, K.H., Palmer, J.R. et al. Consumption of dairy and meat in relation to breast cancer risk in the Black Women’s Health Study. Cancer Causes Control 24, 675–684 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10552-013-0146-8
- Breast cancer