Nav: Home

Intake of dietary fat in adolescence associated with breast density

May 19, 2016

Bottom Line: Consuming high amounts of saturated fat or low amounts of mono- and polyunsaturated fats as an adolescent was associated with higher breast density in young adulthood. Breast density is a risk factor for breast cancer.

Journal in Which the Study was Published: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Author: Seungyoun Jung, ScD, fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Joanne Dorgan, PhD, MPH, professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Background: Breast density has been shown to be a strong risk factor for breast cancer in many studies, explained Jung.

Breast tissue is most sensitive to exposures during adolescence, when breasts develop and undergo structural changes, she added, so we set out to investigate whether fat intake during adolescence was associated with breast density in early adulthood.

How the Study Was Conducted and Results: Jung, Dorgan, and colleagues analyzed data from the Dietary Intervention Study in Children (DISC). DISC was a randomized clinical trial initiated in 1988 enrolling 663 children ages 8 to10 years, including 301 girls, that assessed diet on multiple occasions during adolescence. The DISC06 Follow-Up Study, conducted when participants were 25 to29 years old, measured breast density by magnetic resonance imaging in 177 female DISC participants.

After adjusting for multiple variables, including race, education, adulthood fatness, number of live births, and total energy and protein intakes, the researchers found that higher adolescent intake of saturated fat and lower adolescent intakes of mono- and polyunsaturated fat were associated with higher percent dense breast volume (DBV) in early adulthood.

Women in the highest quartile of saturated fat intake had a mean percent DBV of 21.5 percent compared with 16.4 percent for those in the lowest quartile. A similar difference in percent DBV was found for those in the lowest versus the highest quartile of monounsaturated fat intake.

Author Comment: "The 5 to 6 percentage point difference in percent DBV is relatively modest, compared to the overall distribution of percent DBV observed in our study participants [the 25th percentile and 75th percentile: 9.7 percent to 41.2 percent],"said Jung. "There is no clinical cut-point to define high versus low percent DBV to indicate women at increased risk of breast cancer. However, because there is a gradient of increasing breast cancer risk with increasing breast density, the differences in percent DBV we observed across extreme quartiles in our study, if confirmed, could potentially be of interest with regards to later breast cancer risk.

"Overall, our results suggest possible long-term effects of fat intake during adolescence on young adult breast composition," Jung continued. "If confirmed, the take-home message from our results is that diet consumed in early life is important and may confer chronic disease risk or protective benefits later in life. In particular, the timing of dietary exposures might be important and appropriate dietary modifications during adolescence may potentially contribute to lowering breast density and consequently breast cancer risk as well as preventing obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease."

"Our results are particularly interesting because diet during adolescence is modifiable, whereas most of the well-known risk factors for breast cancer, such as age at menarche and number and timing of pregnancies, offer little chance for intervention," added Dorgan. "Adult alcohol consumption is the only adult dietary factor consistently associated with breast cancer risk."

Limitations: According to Jung, one of the main limitations of the study is that the researchers were unable to rule out whether the significant associations observed for fat consumption during adolescence were attributable to other components in foods that are good sources of different types of fat. They also could not evaluate whether the results are independent of other possible unknown factors associated with breast density. Finally, the study was based on a relatively small number of participants, most of whom were Caucasian. Jung added that a future large prospective study of a racially and ethnically diverse population is needed to replicate the findings.
-end-
Funding & Disclosures: The study was supported by the National Cancer Institute, the American Institute for Cancer Research, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Jung and Dorgan declare no conflicts of interest.

Follow us: Cancer Research Catalyst http://blog.aacr.org; Twitter @AACR; and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/aacr.org

About the American Association for Cancer Research

Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world's first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 35,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and patient advocates residing in 104 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 30 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with nearly 19,500 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and other policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit http://www.AACR.org.

To interview Seungyoun Jung, contact Julia Gunther at julia.gunther@aacr.org or 215-446-6896.

American Association for Cancer Research

Related Breast Cancer Articles:

Does MRI plus mammography improve detection of new breast cancer after breast conservation therapy?
A new article published by JAMA Oncology compares outcomes for combined mammography and MRI or ultrasonography screenings for new breast cancers in women who have previously undergone breast conservation surgery and radiotherapy for breast cancer initially diagnosed at 50 or younger.
Blood test offers improved breast cancer detection tool to reduce use of breast biopsy
A Clinical Breast Cancer study demonstrates Videssa Breast can inform better next steps after abnormal mammogram results and potentially reduce biopsies up to 67 percent.
Surgery to remove unaffected breast in early breast cancer increases
The proportion of women in the United States undergoing surgery for early-stage breast cancer who have preventive mastectomy to remove the unaffected breast increased significantly in recent years, particularly among younger women, and varied substantially across states.
Breast cancer patients with dense breast tissue more likely to develop contralateral disease
Breast cancer patients with dense breast tissue have almost a two-fold increased risk of developing disease in the contralateral breast, according to new research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer.
Some early breast cancer patients benefit more from breast conservation than from mastectomy
Breast conserving therapy (BCT) is better than mastectomy for patients with some types of early breast cancer, according to results from the largest study to date, presented at ECC2017.
One-third of breast cancer patients not getting appropriate breast imaging follow-up exam
An annual mammogram is recommended after treatment for breast cancer, but nearly one-third of women diagnosed with breast cancer aren't receiving this follow-up exam, according to new findings presented at the 2016 Annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.
Low breast density worsens prognosis in breast cancer
Even though dense breast tissue is a risk factor for breast cancer, very low mammographic breast density is associated with a worse prognosis in breast cancer patients.
Is breast conserving therapy or mastectomy better for early breast cancer?
Young women with early breast cancer face a difficult choice about whether to opt for a mastectomy or breast conserving therapy (BCT).
Breast density and outcomes of supplemental breast cancer screening
In a study appearing in the April 26 issue of JAMA, Elizabeth A.
Full dose radiotherapy to whole breast may not be needed in early breast cancer
Five years after breast-conserving surgery, radiotherapy focused around the tumor bed is as good at preventing recurrence as irradiating the whole breast, with fewer side effects, researchers from the UK have found in the large IMPORT LOW trial.

Related Breast Cancer Reading:

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Healing for Your Breast Cancer Journey: Surviving and Thriving During and After Your Diagnosis and Treatment
by Dr. Julie Silver (Author)

Breast Cancer Smoothies: 100 Delicious, Research-Based Recipes for Prevention and Recovery
by Daniella Chace (Author)

The Breast Cancer Survival Manual, Sixth Edition: A Step-by-Step Guide for Women with Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer
by John Link M.D. (Author), James Waisman M.D. (Author), Nancy Link R.N. (Author)

Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book (A Merloyd Lawrence Book)
by Susan M. Love (Author), Karen Lindsey (Contributor), Elizabeth Love (Contributor)

Just Get Me Through This! - Revised and Updated: A Practical Guide to Coping with Breast Cancer
by Deborah A. Cohen (Author), Robert M. Gelfand M.D. (Author)

Dear Friend: Letters of Encouragement, Humor, and Love for Women with Breast Cancer
by Gina L Mulligan (Author)

Heal Breast Cancer Naturally: 7 Essential Steps to Beating Breast Cancer
by Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (Author)

The Whole-Food Guide for Breast Cancer Survivors: A Nutritional Approach to Preventing Recurrence (The New Harbinger Whole-Body Healing Series)
by Edward Bauman MEd PhD (Author), Helayne Waldman MS EdD (Author), Donald I. Abrams MD (Foreword)

Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) during Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond
by Marc Silver (Author), Frederick Smith (Foreword)

Let Me Get This Off My Chest: A Breast Cancer Survivor Over-Shares
by Margaret Lesh (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Why We Hate
From bullying to hate crimes, cruelty is all around us. So what makes us hate? And is it learned or innate? This hour, TED speakers explore the causes and consequences of hate — and how we can fight it. Guests include reformed white nationalist Christian Picciolini, CNN commentator Sally Kohn, podcast host Dylan Marron, and writer Anand Giridharadas.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#483 Wild Moms
This week we're talking about what it takes to be a mother in the wild, and how how human moms compare to other moms in the animal kingdom. We're spending an hour with Dr. Carin Bondar, prolific science communicator and author. We'll be discussing a myriad of stories from her latest book, "Wild Moms: Motherhood in the Animal Kingdom", covering the exciting, stressful and even sinister sides of motherhood.