Background: Evidence is emerging that prudent/healthy dietary patterns might be associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Methods: Using data from the prospective Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, we applied principal factor analysis to 124 foods and beverages to identify dietary patterns and estimated their association with breast cancer risk overall and by tumour characteristics using Cox regression.
Results: During an average of 14.1 years of follow-up of 20 967 women participants, 815 invasive breast cancers were diagnosed. Among the four dietary factors that we identified, only that characterised by high consumption of fruit and salad was associated with a reduced risk, with stronger associations observed for tumours not expressing oestrogen (ER) and progesterone receptors (PR). Compared with women in the lowest quintile of the factor score, the hazard ratio for women in the highest quintile was 0.92 (95% confidence interval (CI)=0.70-1.21; test for trend, P=0.5) for ER-positive or PR-positive tumours and 0.48 (95% CI=0.26-0.86; test for trend, P=0.002) for ER-negative and PR-negative tumours (test for homogeneity, P=0.01).
Conclusion: Our study provides additional support for the hypothesis that a dietary pattern rich in fruit and salad might protect against invasive breast cancer and that the effect might be stronger for ER- and PR-negative tumours.