Western diet linked to increased risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal Asian women

Jul 10, 2007

Postmenopausal Asian women who eat a “meat-sweet” or Western diet are at greater risk of developing breast cancer than those who eat a “vegetable-soy” diet, according to a new study. The findings mark the first time an association between a Western diet and breast cancer has been identified in Asian women.

The study, published in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, involved women in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study. Eligible cases included all women 25 to 64 years of age who with a new diagnosis of breast cancer from August 1996 to March 1998. Controls were selected from the Shanghai Resident Registry of permanent residents in urban Shanghai.

“The issue [of diet] is of particular relevance to women in Asia, for whom breast cancer rates are traditionally low but increasing steadily in recent years,” explained Marilyn Tseng, Ph.D., an associate member in the population science division at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

The transition in breast cancer risk has been attributed to environmental factors, possibly the incorporation of Western dietary pattern foods into traditional dietary habits as a part of broader, societal socioeconomic changes. However, the association of dietary patterns with breast cancer risk has not been studied previously in Asian women.

Through in-person interviews with the Shanghai study participants and residents of Shanghai, researchers established the existence of two primary dietary patterns—the “meat-sweet” diet and a “vegetable-soy” diet. The “meat-sweet” diet includes various meats—primarily pork but also poultry, organ meats, beef and lamb and with saltwater fish, shrimp and other shellfish as well as candy, dessert, bread and milk. The “vegetable-soy” pattern is associated with different vegetables, soy-based products, and freshwater fish.

Of 1,602 eligible breast cancer cases identified during the study period, in-person interviews were completed for 1,459 (91.1%). In-person interviews were completed for 1,556 (90.3%) of the 1,724 eligible controls.

The “meat-sweet” pattern was significantly associated with increased risk of breast cancer among overweight postmenopausal women. Specifically, high intake of the “meat-sweet” pattern was associated with a greater than twofold increased risk of estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer among these women. The results showed no overall association of breast cancer risk with the “vegetable-soy” pattern.

“Our study suggests the possibility that the “meat-sweet” pattern increased breast cancer risk by increasing obesity, Tseng said. “Low consumption of a Western dietary pattern plus successful weight control may protect against breast cancer in a traditionally low-risk Asian population that is poised to more broadly adopt foods characteristic of Western societies.”

Source: Fox Chase Cancer Center

Explore further: New study finds that proton therapy has fewer side effects in esophageal cancer patients

Related Stories

New target for anticancer drugs—RNA

Apr 06, 2015

Most of today's anticancer drugs target the DNA or proteins in tumor cells, but a new discovery by University of California, Berkeley, scientists unveils a whole new set of potential targets: the RNA intermediaries ...

Recommended for you

Vortex device makes for better cancer treatments

4 hours ago

A South Australian invention, responsible for unboiling an egg, has been used to produce a four-fold increase in efficacy of carboplatin, a commonly used drug for ovarian, lung and other cancer. ...

Using healthy skin to identify cancer's origins

May 21, 2015

Normal skin contains an unexpectedly high number of cancer-associated mutations, according to a study published in Science. The findings illuminate the first steps cells take towards becoming a cancer and de ...

Gender differences in receipt of end-of-life care

May 21, 2015

(HealthDay)—There are gender differences in receipt of end-of-life (EoL) care among terminally ill cancer patients, with male patients more likely to receive intensive care unit (ICU) care, according to ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.