PURPOSE Observational studies of dietary fat intake and breast cancer have reported inconsistent findings. This topic was addressed in additional analyses of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Dietary Modification (DM) clinical trial that evaluated a low-fat dietary pattern influence on breast cancer incidence. METHODS In the WHI DM trial, 48,835 postmenopausal women, ages 50-79 years, with no prior breast cancer, and a dietary fat intake of $ 32% of energy were randomly assigned at 40 US centers to a usual diet comparison group (60%) or dietary intervention group (40%). The goals were to reduce fat intake to 20% of energy and increase vegetable, fruit, and grain intake. Breast cancers were confirmed after central medical record review and serial National Death Index linkages to enhance mortality findings. RESULTS During 8.5 years of dietary intervention, breast cancer incidence and deaths as a result of breast cancer were nonsignificantly lower in the intervention group, while deaths after breast cancer were statistically significantly lower both during intervention and through a 16.1-year (median) follow-up. Now, after a long-term, cumulative 19.6-year (median) follow-up, the significant reduction in deaths after breast cancer persists (359 [0.12%] v 652 [0.14%] deaths; hazard ratio [HR], 0.85; 95% CI, 0.74 to 0.96; P = .01), and a statistically significant reduction in deaths as a result of breast cancer (breast cancer followed by death attributed to the breast cancer) emerged (132 [0.037%, annualized risk] v 251 [0.047%] deaths, respectively; HR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.97; P = .02). CONCLUSION Adoption of a low-fat dietary pattern associated with increased vegetable, fruit, and grain intake, demonstrably achievable by many, may reduce the risk of death as a result of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research