Carbohydrates, glycemic index, glycemic load, and breast cancer risk: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies

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Abstract

Context:

The investigation of dose-response associations between carbohydrate intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and risk of breast cancer stratified by menopausal status, hormone receptor status, and body mass index (BMI) remains inconclusive.

Objective:

A systematic review and dose-response meta-analyses was conducted to investigate these associations.

Data Sources:

As part of the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research Continuous Update Project, PubMed was searched up to May 2015 for relevant studies on these associations.

Study Selection:

Prospective studies reporting associations between carbohydrate intake, glycemic index, or glycemic load and breast cancer risk were included.

Data Extraction:

Two investigators independently extracted data from included studies.

Results:

Random-effects models were used to summarize relative risks (RRs) and 95%CIs. Heterogeneity between subgroups, including menopausal status, hormone receptor status, and BMI was explored using meta-regression. Nineteen publications were included. The summary RRs (95%CIs) for breast cancer were 1.04 (1.00-1.07) per 10 units/d for glycemic index, 1.01 (0.98-1.04) per 50 units/d for glycemic load, and 1.00 (0.96-1.05) per 50 g/d for carbohydrate intake. For glycemic index, the association appeared slightly stronger among postmenopausal women (summary RR per 10 units/d, 1.06; 95%CI, 1.02-1.10) than among premenopausal women, though the difference was not statistically significant (Pheterogeneity = 0.15). Glycemic load and carbohydrate intake were positively associated with breast cancer among postmenopausal women with estrogen-negative tumors (summary RR for glycemic load, 1.28; 95%CI, 1.08-1.52; and summary RR for carbohydrates, 1.13; 95%CI, 1.02-1.25). No differences in BMI were detected.

Conclusions:

Menopausal and hormone receptor status, but not BMI, might be potential influencing factors for the associations between carbohydrate intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and breast cancer.

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