Dietary factors and the survival of women with breast carcinoma

Cancer. 1999 Sep 1;86(5):826-35. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0142(19990901)86:5<826::aid-cncr19>;2-0.


Background: Little is known regarding how specific dietary factors affect the survival of women with breast carcinoma.

Methods: Female registered nurses were followed with biennial questionnaires in a prospective cohort with 18 years of follow-up. Participants were women with breast carcinoma (n = 1982) diagnosed between 1976-1990 who completed a food frequency questionnaire after diagnosis. The main outcome measure was time to death from any cause. Analysis was made by multivariate Cox proportional hazards models.

Results: In multivariate analyses of diet after diagnosis, no apparent association was found between fat intake and mortality. The relative risk (and 95% confidence interval) of mortality comparing the highest with the lowest quintile of protein intake was 0.65 (0.47-0.88). There was no association between red meat and mortality. These associations were similar in analyses with breast carcinoma death as the outcome.

Conclusions: No survival advantage was found for a low fat diet after a diagnosis of breast carcinoma. However, increased survival was observed among women eating more protein, but not red meat. The findings suggest that differences in diet may affect survival after a diagnosis of breast carcinoma and should be examined in greater detail.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk