Intake of Various Food Groups and Risk of Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies

Asma Kazemi, Reza Barati-Boldaji, Sepideh Soltani, Nazanin Mohammadipoor, Zahra Esmaeilinezhad, Cian C T Clark, Siavash Babajafari, Marzieh Akbarzadeh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Despite increasing evidence for the association of food-based dietary patterns with breast cancer risk, knowledge about the shape of the relationship and the quality of meta-evidence are insufficient. We aimed to summarize the associations between food groups and risks of breast cancer. We performed a systematic literature search of the PubMed and Embase databases up to March 2020. We included cohort, case-cohort, nested case-control studies, and follow-up studies of randomized controlled trials that investigated the relationship between breast cancer risk and at least 1 of the following food groups: red meat, processed meat, fish, poultry, egg, vegetables, fruit, dairy product (overall, milk, yogurt, and cheese), grains/cereals, nuts, legumes, soy, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Summary risk ratios (RRs) and 95% CIs were estimated using a random-effects model for linear and nonlinear relationships. Inverse linear associations were observed for vegetables (RR per 100 g/d, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.95-0.99), fruit (RR per 100 g/d, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.95-0.99), cheese (RR per 30 g/d, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.91-1.00), and soy (RR per 30 g/d, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.94-0.99), while positive associations were observed for red (RR per 100 g/d, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.03-1.18) and processed meat (RR per 50 g/d, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.04-1.33). None of the other food groups were significantly associated with breast cancer risk. A nonlinear association was observed only for milk, such that the intake of >450 g/d increased the risk, while no association was observed for lower intake amounts. High intakes of vegetables, fruit, cheese, and soy products and low intakes of red and processed meat were associated with lower risks of breast cancer. However, causality cannot be inferred from these statistical correlations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)809-849
    Number of pages41
    JournalAdvances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.)
    Issue number3
    Early online date3 Dec 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


    • Animals
    • Breast Neoplasms/etiology
    • Diet
    • Female
    • Humans
    • Prospective Studies
    • Risk Factors
    • Vegetables
    • Refined grain
    • Breast cancer
    • ER/PR-positive
    • Whole grain
    • Hormone receptor-positive

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science
    • Nutrition and Dietetics
    • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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