Red meat, poultry, and fish intake and breast cancer risk among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic white women: The Breast Cancer Health Disparities Study

Cancer Causes Control. 2016 Apr;27(4):527-43. doi: 10.1007/s10552-016-0727-4. Epub 2016 Feb 22.


Purpose: There is suggestive but limited evidence for a relationship between meat intake and breast cancer (BC) risk. Few studies included Hispanic women. We investigated the association between meats and fish intake and BC risk among Hispanic and NHW women.

Methods: The study included NHW (1,982 cases and 2,218 controls) and the US Hispanics (1,777 cases and 2,218 controls) from two population-based case-control studies. Analyses considered menopausal status and percent Native American ancestry. We estimated pooled ORs combining harmonized data from both studies, and study- and race-/ethnicity-specific ORs that were combined using fixed or random effects models, depending on heterogeneity levels.

Results: When comparing highest versus lowest tertile of intake, among NHW we observed an association between tuna intake and BC risk (pooled OR 1.25; 95 % CI 1.05-1.50; trend p = 0.006). Among Hispanics, we observed an association between BC risk and processed meat intake (pooled OR 1.42; 95% CI 1.18-1.71; trend p < 0.001), and between white meat (OR 0.80; 95% CI 0.67-0.95; trend p = 0.01) and BC risk, driven by poultry. All these findings were supported by meta-analysis using fixed or random effect models and were restricted to estrogen receptor-positive tumors. Processed meats and poultry were not associated with BC risk among NHW women; red meat and fish were not associated with BC risk in either race/ethnic groups.

Conclusions: Our results suggest the presence of ethnic differences in associations between meat and BC risk that may contribute to BC disparities.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Hispanics; Meat; Processed meat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Fishes
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Meat
  • Middle Aged
  • Poultry
  • Red Meat
  • Risk Factors