Meta-Analysis of Saturated Fatty Acid Intake and Breast Cancer Risk

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The associations between saturated fatty acid (SFA) consumption and risk of breast cancer (BC) remains inconclusive. Therefore, we conducted this meta-analysis to determine the quantitative relations between dietary SFA intake and incidence of BC.

Literatures published up to April 2015 were systematically screened through Pubmed and Web of Science. Relevant publication quality was evaluated by conducting the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. We used fixed effects models or random effect models to calculate the summary relative risks (RRs) and odds ratios (ORs), and conducted sensitivity analyses and evaluated the publication bias.

We identified a total of 52 studies (24 cohort studies and 28 case–control studies), with over 50,000 females diagnosed with BC. The associations between dietary SFA intake and risk of BC were 1.18 for case–control studies (high vs low intake, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.03–1.34) and 1.04 for cohort studies (95% CI = 0.97–1.11). When restricted analyses to population-based studies, positive associations were observed for both cohort (RR [95% CI] = 1.11 [1.01–1.21]) and case–control studies (OR [95% CI] = 1.26 [1.03–1.53]). Additionally, for case–control studies, significant positive associations between higher SFA intake and BC risk were observed for Asian (OR [95% CI] = 1.17 [1.02–1.34]) and Caucasian (OR [95% CI] = 1.19 [1.00–1.41]), as well as for postmenopausal women (OR = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.02–1.73). In contrast, higher dietary SFA intake was not associated with risk of BC among premenopausal women, in cohort studies or hospital-based studies.

A positive association between higher dietary SFA intake and postmenopausal BC risk was observed in case–control but not in cohort studies. More studies are warranted to confirm these findings.

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