Allium vegetable consumption, garlic supplement intake, and female breast carcinoma incidence

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1995;33(2):163-70. doi: 10.1007/BF00682723.


The risk of female breast carcinoma in relation to onion and leek consumption and the use of garlic supplements was evaluated in the Netherlands Cohort Study on diet and cancer. Onions, leeks, and garlic contain specific compounds which might act as antimutagens. Animal experiments also suggest a possible role for these compounds in inhibition of mammary carcinogenesis. The Netherlands Cohort Study was started in 1986 among 120,852 Dutch men and women, aged 55-69 years, with collecting information on usual diet and important lifestyle characteristics. After 3.3 years of follow-up, 469 incident female breast carcinoma cases and 1713 female members of a randomly sampled control subcohort were available for analysis. Intake of onions or leeks was not associated with breast carcinoma risk after controlling for dietary and nondietary risk factors: the rate ratios in the highest intake categories were 0.95 (95% confidence interval 0.61-1.47) and 1.08 (95% confidence interval 0.79-1.48), respectively, compared with the lowest intake categories. The tests for trend in the rate ratios were neither significant. Garlic supplement use was also not associated with breast carcinoma incidence (rate ratio = 0.87, 95% confidence interval 0.58-1.31). In conclusion, we found no association between the consumption of onions or leeks, or garlic supplement use, and the incidence of female breast carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Allium*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Garlic*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors