Adolescent diet and risk of breast cancer

Cancer Causes Control. 2004 Feb;15(1):73-82. doi: 10.1023/B:CACO.0000016617.57120.df.


Objectives: To investigate the components of adolescent diet that may influence risk of breast cancer as an adult.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study among 47,355 participants in the Nurses Health Study II who answered a 131-item food frequency questionnaire about diet during high school. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate relative risks and 95% confidence intervals among incident cases of breast cancer between 1989 (inception of the study) and 1998 (when high school diet was assessed).

Results: Intakes of fat and fiber were not significantly related to risk of breast cancer in multivariate analysis, but increased intake of vegetable fat ( Q (5) versus Q (1) multivariate RR = 0.58, 95% CI (0.38-0.86); test for trend p = 0.005) and vitamin E ( Q (5) versus Q (1) multivariate RR = 0.61, 95% CI (0.42-0.89); test for trend p = 0.003) were associated with a lower risk. A higher dietary glycemic index ( Q (5) versus Q (1) multivariate RR = 1.47, 95% CI (1.04-2.08); test for trend p = 0.01) was associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

Conclusions: The apparent protective effects of vegetable fat and vitamin E and adverse effect of high glycemic foods on risk of breast cancer need confirmation in prospective analyses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Vitamin E