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Low-fat dietary pattern may improve breast cancer survival

07 Oct 2017

Women who follow a low-fat dietary pattern appear to have reduced breast cancer mortality, according to data from the Earlier Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification trial.

The trial randomly assigned 48,835 postmenopausal women with normal mammograms and had no prior breast cancer to a dietary intervention with goals of reducing fat intake to 20 percent of energy and increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables and grains (n=19,541), or to a usual diet comparison (n=29,294).

A total of 1,764 incident breast cancers were reported during the 8.5-year dietary intervention. Fewer breast cancer-related deaths occurred in the low-fat diet group than in the usual diet group (27 vs 61 deaths; hazard ratio [HR], 0.67; 95 percent CI, 0.43 to 1.06), although the difference was not significant (p=0.08). On the other hand, the number of deaths after breast cancer significantly differed, in favour of the low-fat diet group (40 vs 94 deaths; HR, 0.65; 0.45 to 0.94; p=0.02).

During the 16.1-year follow-up, with 3,030 incident breast cancers, the number of deaths after breast cancer was also significantly lower in the low-fat vs usual diet group (234 vs 443 deaths; HR, 0.82; 0.70 to 0.96; p=0.01).

Participants who followed a low-fat dietary pattern particularly achieved a significant reduction in fat intake and body weight (p<0.001 for all).

Dietary intervention through a low-fat diet is believed to restore insulin sensitivity and reverse insulin's tumour-promoting effects, given that insulin resistance commonly results from obesity. Previous studies have shown that chronically increased concentrations of insulin may induce tumour growth and that insulin resistance may promote breast cancer development. [Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86:878S-881S]

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Most Read Articles
4 days ago
The consumption of red and processed meats does not seem to affect the likelihood of symptom relapse among Crohn’s disease (CD) patients in relapse, reports a recent study.
Roshini Claire Anthony, 10 Jul 2019

Women who receive a single dose of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid within 6 hours of operative vaginal delivery could significantly reduce their postpartum infection risk, according to the UK-based ANODE* trial.

Pearl Toh, Yesterday
In addition to the known evils of maternal smoking during pregnancy on the son’s semen quality, prenatal exposure to paternal smoking can also be harmful, according to data from a large Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) presented at the ESHRE 2019 Meeting.
4 days ago
Treatment with metformin may improve whole-body and peripheral insulin resistance (IR) in youth who are overweight/obese with type 1 diabetes (T1D), according to a study.