Dietary Patterns and Breast Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review

Anticancer Res. 2018 Jun;38(6):3209-3222. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.12586.


Background/aim: The association of dietary patterns representing multiple dietary components and breast cancer risk is not clearly understood. Our objective was to conduct a systematic review of the association between dietary patterns and breast cancer risk.

Materials and methods: The original articles included, were published between January 2013 and May 2017 and characterized diets using a priori and posteriori approaches to examine associations between dietary patterns and breast cancer risk. A novel scoring matrix was used to grade posteriori dietary pattern alignment with the American Cancer Society dietary guidelines.

Results: Seventeen case-control and nested case-control studies identified 15 healthy, and 10 unhealthy, dietary patterns determined posteriori, and 7 dietary indices determined a priori. Vegetables were consistently found in breast cancer protective patterns whereas saturated fat and red and processed meats were consistently found in patterns associated with increased breast cancer risk.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that dietary patterns that include vegetables and limit saturated fat and red and processed meats may lower breast cancer risk.

Keywords: American Cancer Society; Diet; breast cancer; dietary patterns; review; statistical analyses.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet*
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Meat
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vegetables


  • Fatty Acids