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Intake of fruits, vegetables, folic acid and related nutrients and risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women

  • Barbara Thorand (a1), Lenore Kohlmeier (a1) (a2), Naal Simonsen (a1), Carry Croghan (a1) and Michael Thamm (a3)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1079/PHN19980024
  • Published online: 01 September 1998
Abstract
AbstractObjective:

To determine the role of fruit and vegetable consumption and dietary intake of folic acid and related nutrients such as methionine, cysteine and alcohol in the aetiology of breast cancer.

Design:

Population based case-control study.

Setting:

Part of the European Community Multicentre Study on Antioxidants, Myocardial Infarction, and Cancer of the Breast (EURAMIC) in Berlin, Germany.

subjects:

As part of the EURAMIC study, dietary intake data were collected in 43 postmenopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer between 191 and 1992 in Berlin, Germany, and compared to 106 population-based controls.

Results:

Odds ratios (ORs) adjusted for major risk factors of breast cancer but not for total energy intake showed a non-significant inverse association between a high intake of vegetables (OR=0.76, 95% CI=0.48–1.20) and fruits (OR=0.74, 95% CI=0.48–1.15) and breast cancer. Once results were adjusted for total energy intake the associations became much weaker (vegetables: OR=0.86, 95% CI=0.51–1.46; fruits: OR=0.82, 95% CI=0.51–1.32). For all nutrients, the effect of energy adjustment was more profound and the inverse associations disappeared when results were adjusted for energy intake (total folate—not energy adjusted: OR=0.79, 95% CI=O.51–1.21; energy adjusted: OR=1.14, 95% CI=0.73–1.79; folate equivalents-not energy adjusted: OR=0.81, 95% CI= 0.53–1.23; energy adjusted: OR=1.16, 95% CI=0.78–1.74; methionine—not energy adjusted: OR=0.60, 95% CI=0.35–1.03; energy adjusted: OR=1.29, 95% CI=0.76–2.19; cysteine—not energy adjusted: OR=0.52, 95% CI=0.29–0.94; energy adjusted: OR=1.22, 95% CI=0.75–1.97). Alcohol intake was inversely associated with breast cancer in a non-significant way, possibly due to the relatively low alcohol intake of the study population.

Conclusions:

The results of this study do not provide firm evidence that a high intake of fruits and vegetables, folic acid, methionine or cysteine reduces the risk of getting breast cancer.

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*Corresponding author: E-mail LenoreK@unc.edu
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