Purpose: Dietary exposures during adolescence may exert important effects on breast development and future breast cancer risk. This study evaluated the associations between high school intakes of fat and micronutrients and the incidence of proliferative benign breast disease (BBD), a marker of increased breast cancer risk.
Methods: 29,480 women (mean age 43.3 years, range 33.6-52.9) completed a high school food frequency questionnaire in 1998 in the Nurses' Health Study II. Between 1991 and 2001, 682 women (follow-up time: 259,828 person-years) were diagnosed with proliferative BBD whose biopsy slides were reviewed and confirmed by the study pathologists.
Results: In multivariate Cox proportional hazards models, high school intakes of total fat and types of fat were not associated with proliferative BBD. Women in the highest quintile of total retinol activity equivalents (RAEs), which incorporate retinol, α- and β-carotene, and β-cryptoxanthin intakes, had a 17 % lower risk of proliferative BBD than those in the lowest quintile [multivariate hazard ratio (HR) 95 % CI 0.83 (0.64, 1.07), p trend = 0.01]; however, additional adjustment for high school dietary factors (vitamin D, nuts, and fiber) rendered the association nonsignificant [0.99 (0.73, 1.34), p trend = 0.32]. Results were similar with additional adjustment for adult RAE intake. Intakes of vitamin E and individual carotenoids were not associated with proliferative BBD, although an inverse association cannot be ruled out.
Conclusions: In this study, adolescent fat and micronutrient intakes were not associated with risk of proliferative BBD.