Dietary intake of selected fatty acids, cholesterol and carotenoids and estrogen receptor status in premenopausal breast cancer patients

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2002 Sep;75(1):5-14. doi: 10.1023/a:1016588629495.


Although a wealth of research has focused on the influence of diet on breast cancer risk, the relationships between dietary factors and tumor characteristics of breast cancer, like estrogen receptor (ER) status, are not well characterized. In a case-case study, we evaluated self-reported dietary intake for five individual carotenoids, selected fatty acids, and cholesterol 1 year before diagnosis in 34 premenopausal breast cancer patients with ER-negative tumors and 86 premenopausal breast cancer patients with ER-positive tumors from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. In multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, body mass index, and ethnicity, high intakes of linoleic acid were associated with more than a threefold greater risk of ER-negative disease than ER-positive disease (odds ratio (OR) = 3.48, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.42-8.54), whereas high cholesterol intake was associated with lower risk of ER-negative disease (OR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.14-0.92). In a model evaluating carotenoids, selected fatty acids, and cholesterol together, the association with high intake of linoleic acid remained statistically significant (OR = 3.96,95% CI = 1.53-10.25), while those for high intake of cholesterol (OR = 0.38, 95% CI = 0.14-1.03) and low intake of cryptoxanthin (OR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.17-1.06) were of marginal significance. While no striking associations were observed for the intakes of total carotenoids, selected fatty acids, and cholesterol, our analysis revealed an association for the consumption of a specific fatty acid (i.e., linoleic acid), suggesting dietary influence of this factor on ER status in premenopausal breast cancer patients. However, larger studies are needed to clarify the role of micronutrients in ER status in breast cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Cholesterol / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Fats*
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Odds Ratio
  • Premenopause
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis*
  • Risk Factors


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Carotenoids
  • Cholesterol