Associations of intakes of magnesium and calcium and survival among women with breast cancer: results from Western New York Exposures and Breast Cancer (WEB) Study

Am J Cancer Res. 2015 Dec 15;6(1):105-13. eCollection 2016.


Magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca) antagonizes each other in (re) absorption, cell cycle regulation, inflammation, and many other physiologic activities. However, few studies have investigated the association between magnesium and calcium intakes and breast cancer survival, and the interaction between calcium and magnesium intake. In a cohort of 1,170 women with primary, incident, and histologically confirmed breast cancer from Western New York State, we examined the relationship between intakes of these two minerals and survival. Cox regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Mean follow-up time was 87.4 months after breast cancer diagnosis; there were 170 deaths identified. After adjustment for known prognostic factors, and intakes of energy, total vitamin D and total calcium, higher dietary intake of magnesium was inversely associated with risk of all-cause mortality (HR = 0.50, 95% CI, 0.28-0.90 for highest vs. lowest tertile; p trend = 0.02). Likewise, a marginal association was found for total Magnesium intake from foods and supplements combined (HR = 0.58, 95% CI, 0.31-1.08; p trend = 0.09). The inverse association of higher total magnesium intake with all-cause mortality was primarily presented among postmenopausal women and was stronger among women who had a high Ca:Mg intake ratio (>2.59). There were no clear associations for prognosis with intake of calcium. We found that magnesium intake alone may improve overall survival following breast cancer, and the association may be stronger among those with high Ca:Mg intake ratio.

Keywords: Magnesium; breast cancer survival; calcium; epidemiology.