A dietary pattern based on estrogen metabolism is associated with breast cancer risk in a prospective cohort of postmenopausal women.
Guinter MA, McLain AC, Merchant AT, Sandler DP, Steck SE
Increased exposure to estrogen is a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer, and dietary factors can influence estrogen metabolism. However, studies of diet and breast cancer have been inconclusive. We developed a dietary pattern associated with levels of unconjugated estradiol and the ratio of 2- and 16-hydroxylated estrogen metabolites in a subsample of Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Screening Trial (PLCO) participants (n = 653) using reduced rank regression, and examined its association with postmenopausal breast cancer prospectively in the larger PLCO cohort (n = 27,488). The estrogen-related dietary pattern (ERDP) was comprised of foods with positively-weighted intakes (non-whole/refined grains, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, cheese, fish/shellfish high in ω-3 fatty acids, franks/luncheon meats) and negatively-weighted intakes (nuts/seeds, other vegetables, fish/shellfish low in ω-3 fatty acids, yogurt, coffee). A 1-unit increase in the ERDP score was associated with an increase in total (HR: 1.09, 95% CI: 1.01-1.18), invasive (HR: 1.13; 95% CI: 1.04-1.24) and estrogen receptor (ER)-positive (HR: 1.13, 95% CI: 1.02-1.24) breast cancer risk after adjustment for confounders. Associations were observed for the fourth quartile of ERDP compared with the first quartile for overall breast cancer (HR: 1.14; 95% CI: 0.98-1.32), invasive cases (HR: 1.20, 95% CI: 1.02-1.42) and ER-positive cases (HR: 1.19; 95% CI: 0.99-1.41). The increased risk associated with increasing ERDP score was more apparent in strata of some effect modifiers (postmenopausal hormone therapy non-users and non-obese participants) where the relative estrogen exposure due to that factor was lowest, although the p values for interaction were not statistically significant. Results suggest a dietary pattern based on estrogen metabolism is positively associated with postmenopausal breast cancer risk, possibly through an estrogenic influence.