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Diet & Health : Cancer Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Low fat intake reduces risk of breast cancer recurrence
By Ben Wasserman -
Feb 4, 2007 - 4:04:19 PM

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Reducing fat intake means reducing risk of breast cancer recurrence, according to a large clinical study published in the December 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Rowan T. Chlebowski MD, PhD, Divisions of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and colleagues from many other organizations did the randomized trial of 2,400 postmenopausal women who had received standard conventional therapies for their breast cancer such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or some combination of these treatments.

In the study performed between February 1994 and January 2001, one group of women were asked to use less than 20 percent of total calories (33 grams of total fat) per day while the other was allowed to continue using their standard diet comprised of 51 grams of fat.

Fiver years later, those who were asked to use the low fat diet experienced a significantly lower rate of breast cancer recurrence than the control group, 9.8 percent versus 12.4 percent.

The benefit of low fat diet was even greater in those whose breast cancer was not sensitive to hormone estrogen; the risk of breast cancer recurrence was reduced by 41 percent among this particular group compared to the control.

Preliminary results from the study observed for longer than five years indicated that the reduction of risk of breast cancer recurrence was much better than that observed during the fiver-year period of study in women with the estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer.

The preliminary results were presented at a conference on December 16, 2006.

However, the effect of low fat diet on the risk of breast cancer recurrence in those with an estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer was not significant somehow.

It remains unknown how the fat reduction reduced the risk, but a health observer affiliated with suggested that there may be other risk factors determining the risk of breast cancer recurrence in women with the ER-positive breast cancer.

The landmark Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS) was funded by American Institute of Cancer Research, a not-for-profit cancer research organization which sponsored research on the prevention and treatment of cancer by adopting a healthy dietary habit.



Rowan T. Chlebowski, George L. Blackburn, Cynthia A. Thomson, Daniel W. Nixon, Alice Shapiro, M. Katherine Hoy, Marc T. Goodman, Armando E. Giuliano, Njeri Karanja, Philomena McAndrew, Clifford Hudis, John Butler, Douglas Merkel, Alan Kristal, Bette Caan, Richard Michaelson, Vincent Vinciguerra, Salvatore Del Prete, Marion Winkler, Rayna Hall, Michael Simon, Barbara L. Winters, and Robert M. Elashoff

Dietary Fat Reduction and Breast Cancer Outcome: Interim Efficacy Results From the Women's Intervention Nutrition Study
J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 2006 98: 1767-1776; doi:10.1093/jnci/djj494 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF] [Supplementary Data] 

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