Adolescent dietary fiber, vegetable fat, vegetable protein, and nut intakes and breast cancer risk

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Jun;145(2):461-70. doi: 10.1007/s10549-014-2953-3. Epub 2014 Apr 16.


The importance of early-life exposures in breast cancer development is increasingly recognized. However, limited research has evaluated the relationship between adolescent diet and subsequent risk of breast cancer and reported inconsistent results. This population-based case-control study investigated the associations of dietary fiber, vegetable protein, vegetable fat, and nuts consumed during adolescence with adult breast cancer risk. Women, ages 25-74 years, who were diagnosed with first primary breast cancer between 2002 and 2003, were identified using the Ontario Cancer Registry. Controls were identified through random-digit dialing and age-frequency matched to cases. Diet at ages 10-15 was assessed with a 55-item food frequency questionnaire among 2,865 cases and 3,299 controls. Logistic regression was performed to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs). Inverse associations were found between intakes of dietary fiber, vegetable protein, vegetable fat, and nuts during adolescence and breast cancer risk, which persisted after controlling for adult intakes. The ORs (95 % CI) for the highest versus the lowest quintile of intake were 0.66 (0.55-0.78; P trend < 0.0001) for fiber, 0.80 (0.68-0.95; P trend = 0.01) for vegetable protein, 0.74 (0.63-0.87; P trend = 0.002) for vegetable fat, and 0.76 (0.61-0.95 for ≥1 serving/day vs. <1 serving/month intake; P trend = 0.04) for nuts. The reduced risk for adolescent intakes of fiber, vegetable protein, and nuts was largely limited to postmenopausal women (P interaction ≤ 0.05). Dietary fiber, vegetable protein, vegetable fat, and nuts consumed during adolescence were associated with reduced breast cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuts
  • Odds Ratio
  • Ontario
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vegetables


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary