Objective: It has been suggested that dietary phytoestrogen intake during adolescence may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. This population-based case-control study evaluated the association between adolescent dietary phytoestrogen intake and adult breast cancer risk among women in Ontario, Canada.
Methods: Pathology-confirmed, population-based breast cancer cases, aged 25-74 years, diagnosed between June 2002 and April 2003, were identified using the Ontario Cancer Registry. Population-based controls were recruited, and matched to cases within 5-year age groups. Adolescent phytoestrogen intake was obtained using a brief food frequency questionnaire (n = 3,024 cases, n = 3,420 controls). Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: Higher phytoestrogen intake (both isoflavones and lignans) during adolescence was associated with a reduced breast cancer risk, and a monotonic trend was observed from the lowest to the highest quartile (OR [Q2] = 0.91, 95% CI 0.79-1.04, OR[Q3] = 0.86, 95% CI 0.75-0.98, and OR[Q4] = 0.71, 95% CI 0.62-0.82, p-trend < 0.001).
Conclusion: Adolescent dietary phytoestrogen intake may be associated with a decreased risk of adult breast cancer. If verified, this finding has important implications with regard to breast cancer prevention since diet is a potentially modifiable factor.