Women consuming a more pro-inflammatory diet are at increased risk for breast cancer, especially pre-menopausal women, according to new European research published in Current Developments in Nutrition and reported by Reuters Health.
According to the study, foods that increase inflammation include red and processed meat; high-fat foods such as butter, margarines and frying fats; and sweets including sugar, honey and foods high in sugar. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, tea and coffee all have potentially anti-inflammatory properties,
"Inflammation is one of the hallmarks of carcinogenesis. Low-grade chronic inflammation is associated with several cancers," said Carlota Castro-Espin, a PhD student at the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Catalonia in Spain. Other institutions involved in the research include Imperial College London and the World Health Organization.
"Diet contributes to the state of low-grade chronic inflammation but no single dietary components, except alcohol, have been found to be strongly associated with breast cancer," she noted, writes Reuters Health.
To investigate, the researchers studied more than 318,000 women from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) who were followed for 14 years, including 13,246 who developed breast cancer.
Dietary inflammatory potential was characterised by an inflammatory score of the diet (ISD) based on participant reporting of intake of 27 foods.
"Most studies examining diet and breast cancer risk have focused on single nutrients or foods rather than the whole diet. People consume food not nutrients, thus examining overall dietary patterns, rather than single components of diets, can lead to more accurate conclusions when analysing associations with a health outcome such as breast cancer," Castro-Espin said.
The results showed a positive association between ISD and breast-cancer risk, reports Reuters Health. (See the statistics in the abstract.)
The association between pro-inflammatory diets and breast-cancer risk was independent of breast cancer hormone receptor subtype. There were no significant interactions between ISD and body mass index, physical activity or alcohol consumption.
"Our results add more evidence of the role that dietary patterns play in the prevention of breast cancer. With further confirmation, these findings could help inform dietary recommendations aimed at lowering cancer risk," Castro-Espin said
Inflammatory Potential of the Diet and Risk of Breast Cancer in the European Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study
Carlota Castro-Espin, Antonio Agudo, Catalina Bonet, Elisabete Weiderpass, Elio Riboli, Laure Dossus, Paula Jakszyn and EPIC co-authors.
Author affiliations: Catalan Institute of Oncology; World Health Organization; Imperial College London; International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization; and the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study.
Presented virtually to American Society of Nutrition in June 2021
Published in Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 5, Issue Supplement 2, on 7 June 2021.
We aimed to evaluate the association between the inflammatory potential of the diet and the risk of breast cancer overall, by tumour subtypes and according to menopausal status.
A total of 318,686 women from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) were followed for 14 years, among whom 13,246 incident breast cancer cases were identified. Dietary inflammatory potential was characterised by an inflammatory score of the diet (ISD).
Multivariable Cox regression models were used to assess the potential effect of the ISD on the risk of overall breast cancer and by tumour subtypes by means of the hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI).
ISD was positively associated with breast cancer risk. Adjusted for relevant confounders, each increase of one standard deviation (1-SD) of the score increased by 4% the risk of breast cancer (HR 1.04; 95% CI: 1.01-1.07). Women in the highest quintile of the ISD (indicating most pro-inflammatory diet) had a 12% increase in risk compared with those in the lowest quintile (HR 1.12; 95% CI: 1.04-1.21) with a significant trend.
The association was more pronounced among premenopausal women, with increased risk of 8% for 1-SD increase of the score (HR 1.08; 95% CI: 1.01-1.14). The pattern of the association was quite homogeneous by tumour subtypes based on hormone receptor status. There were no significant interactions between ISD and body mass index, physical activity or alcohol consumption.
Women consuming more pro-inflammatory diets as measured by ISD are at increased risk for breast cancer, especially premenopausal women.
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