Dietary Flavonoid Intake and Breast Cancer Risk among Women on Long Island

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Flavonoids are found in a variety of foods and have anticarcinogenic properties in experimental models. Few epidemiologic studies have examined whether flavonoid intake is associated with breast cancer in humans. In this study, the authors investigated whether dietary flavonoid intake was associated with reduced risk of breast cancer in a population-based sample of US women. They conducted a case-control study among women who resided in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, New York. Cases and controls were interviewed about known and suspected risk factors and asked to complete a food frequency questionnaire regarding their average intake in the prior 12 months. A total of 1,434 breast cancer cases and 1,440 controls provided adequate responses. A decrease in breast cancer risk was associated with flavonoid intake; the decrease was most pronounced among postmenopausal women for flavonols (odds ratio (OR)=0.54, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.40, 0.73), flavones (OR=0.61, 95% CI: 0.45, 0.83), flavan-3-ols (OR=0.74, 95% CI: 0.55, 0.99), and lignans (OR=0.69, 95% CI: 0.51, 0.94). The authors conclude that intake of flavonols, flavones, flavan-3-ols, and lignans is associated with reduced risk of incident postmenopausal breast cancer among Long Island women. These results suggest that US women can consume sufficient levels of flavonoids to benefit from their potential chemopreventive effects.

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