Alcohol and dietary folate intake and the risk of breast cancer: a case–control study in Japan


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Abstract

Owing to its interaction with alcohol, folate has been suggested to be a potential factor for many types of cancer. The impact of these factors on the risk of breast cancer among Asian populations has not been fully examined, however, particularly with respect to receptor status. We carried out a case–control study in premenopausal and postmenopausal Japanese women, including 1754 breast cancer patients and 3508 noncancer controls. We determined the association between self-reported alcohol drinking, dietary folate intake, and the risk of breast cancer. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using logistic models adjusted for potential confounders. Alcohol consumption was associated with the risk of breast cancer, with the OR for a drinker consuming 23 g or more per day relative to a nondrinker of 1.39 (95% CI: 1.07–1.80). A significant inverse association was observed between folate intake and overall risk of breast cancer, with an OR of 0.79 (95% CI: 0.68–0.93; Ptrend=0.004) for the highest tertile relative to the lowest. The OR of a drinker consuming 23 g or more per day relative to a nondrinker with a low folate intake was 1.58 (95% CI: 1.06–2.33). However, a significantly increased risk was not observed in tertile 2 and tertile 3 folate in taker with any amount of alcohol consumption. Higher folate intake decreases the risk of breast cancer among Japanese, whereas alcohol intake increases the risk. These two factors interact with each other, and the excess risk of breast cancer with alcohol consumption might be attenuated by increasing the intake of folate. In addition, the effects of folate/alcohol may vary according to the tumor subtype.

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