Background: Prior studies of dietary protein intake and breast cancer have been mixed and were limited by dietary self-report measurement error. Methods: Biomarker-calibrated total protein intake and estimated vegetable protein and animal protein intake were determined from baseline food frequency questionnaires in 100 024 Women's Health Initiative participants. Associations between total, animal, and vegetable protein intake and breast cancer incidence, deaths from breast cancer, and deaths after breast cancer were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression. Breast cancers were verified by medical record review and survival outcomes enhanced by National Death Index queries. All statistical tests were 2-sided. Results: After 14 years of follow-up, there were 6340 incident breast cancers, 764 deaths from breast cancer, and 2059 deaths after breast cancer. In multivariable analyses, higher calibrated total protein intake was not associated with breast cancer incidence or deaths from or after breast cancer. Vegetable protein intake was associated with statistically significantly lower breast cancer incidence (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.96 to 0.99, Ptrend = .006) and statistically significantly lower risk of death after breast cancer (HR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.91 to 0.97, Ptrend < .001) but not with deaths from breast cancer. In contrast, higher animal protein intake was associated with statistically significantly higher breast cancer incidence (HR = 1.03, 95% CI = 1.01 to 1.06, Ptrend = .02) but not with deaths from or after breast cancer. Conclusions: Calibrated total protein intake was not associated with breast cancer incidence or mortality. Higher vegetable protein intake was associated with lower breast cancer incidence and lower risk of death after breast cancer. Higher animal protein intake was associated with higher breast cancer incidence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research