Dietary carotenoids and the risk of invasive breast cancer.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer, Volume 124, Issue 12, p.2929-37 (2009)


2009, Adult, Aged, Breast Neoplasms, Carotenoids, Case-Control Studies, Center-Authored Paper, diet, Female, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Middle Aged, Neoplasm Invasiveness, Postmenopause, Premenopause, Public Health Sciences Division, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Young Adult


Certain classes of vitamins and nutrients found in fruits and vegetables have been of particular interest in relation to cancer prevention, owing to their potential anticarcinogenic properties. We examined the association between certain fruits, vegetables, carotenoids, and vitamin A and breast cancer risk in a large population-based case-control study of women residing in the states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. The study was comprised of 5,707 women with incident invasive breast cancer (2,363 premenopausal women and 3,516 postmenopausal women) and 6,389 population controls (2,594 premenopausal women and 3,516 postmenopausal women). In an interview, women were asked about their intake of carotenoid rich fruits and vegetables 5 years prior to a referent date. An inverse association observed among premenopausal women was for high levels of vitamin A (OR: 0.82, 95% CI: 0.68-0.98, p for trend = 0.01), beta-carotene (OR: 0.81, 95% CI 0.68-0.98, p for trend = 0.009), alpha-carotene (OR: 0.82, 95% CI: 0.68-0.98, p for trend = 0.07) and lutein/zeaxanthin (OR: 0.83, 95% CI 0.68-0.99, p for trend = 0.02). An inverse association was not observed among postmenopausal women. Among premenopausal women who reported ever smoking, these results were stronger than among never smokers, although tests for interaction were not statistically significant. Results from this study are comparable to previous prospective studies, and suggest that a high consumption of carotenoids may reduce the risk of premenopausal but not postmenopausal breast cancer, particularly among smokers.