Dietary fat and breast cancer mortality: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Jul 3;57(10):1999-2008. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2012.724481.


Background: The influence of dietary fat upon breast cancer mortality remains largely understudied despite extensive investigation into its influence upon breast cancer risk.

Objective: To conduct meta-analyses of studies to clarify the association between dietary fat and breast cancer mortality.

Design: MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for relevant articles published up to March 2012. Risk of all-cause or breast-cancer-specific death was evaluated by combining multivariable adjusted estimates comparing highest versus lowest categories of intake; and per 20 g increase in intake of total and/or saturated fat (g/day) using random-effects meta-analyses.

Results: Fifteen prospective cohort studies investigating total fat and/or saturated fat intake (g/day) and breast cancer mortality were included. There was no difference in risk of breast-cancer-specific death (n = 6; HR = 1.14; 95% CI: 0.86, 1.52; p = 0.34) or all-cause death (n = 4; HR = 1.73; 95% CI: 0.82, 3.66; p = 0.15) for women in the highest versus lowest category of total fat intake. Breast-cancer-specific death (n = 4; HR = 1.51; 95% CI: 1.09, 2.09; p < 0.01) was higher for women in the highest versus lowest category of saturated fat intake.

Conclusions: These meta-analyses have shown that saturated fat intake negatively impacts upon breast cancer survival.

Keywords: Dietary fat; breast cancer survival; saturated fat.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / adverse effects*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Fatty Acids / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mortality
  • Palmitic Acids / adverse effects
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk
  • Stearic Acids / adverse effects


  • Fatty Acids
  • Palmitic Acids
  • Stearic Acids