Breast cancer research findings

Research we fund helps understand the role of diet, nutrition (including body composition) & physical activity on breast cancer.

Below are the results from some of the research we have funded.


Plasma carotenoids, Vitamin C and risk of breast cancer

Carla van Gils, at University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands, has looked at the associations of plasma carotenoid and vitamin C levels and risk of incident breast cancer.

The research found that women with higher levels of vitamin C, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene or cryptoxanthin appeared to have a lower breast cancer risk than women with low levels of these antioxidants. The effects of carotenoids were stronger for estrogen-receptor negative than for estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. The effects of vitamin C were stronger in never and past smokers than in current smokers. 


The effect of physical activity and weight-related factors on endogenous sex hormones in postmenopausal women: understanding independent and joint roles

Karen Steindorf, at German Cancer Research Centre, looked at how physical activity and body composition affects sex concentrations in postmenopausal women.

The research found that weight-related factors (BMI, waist and hip circumference, and waist-to- hip ratio) showed negative associations with sex hormone-binding globulin concentration and positive associations with all hormones except androstenedione. Higher levels of sports activity were significantly associated with lower levels of estrone and testosterone, it was suggested that this effect is largely mediated by changes in body composition. The grant did not support the hypothesis that the effect of physical activity on hormone levels may differ across levels of weight-related factors.


Changes in food and supplements consumption before and after diagnosis affecting quality of life in breast cancer survivors

Josette Sin-yee Chor, at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, investigated the association between changes in dietary intake and consumption of supplements and quality of life of breast cancer survivors.

This research showed that breast cancer patients commonly changed their diet after diagnosis, often adopting a healthier lifestyle. The study showed increased consumption of Omega-3 and decreased consumption of durian, trans-fats, tea, coffee and wine was associated with a positive change in quality of life.


Biomarkers of industrial trans fatty acids and breast cancer risk within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study

Nadia Slimani, at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, investigated whether a high intake of industrial trans fatty acids might increase risk of breast cancer.

The research found a positive association between breast cancer risk and levels of industrial trans fatty acid isomers, while no association was found for trans fatty acids from animal source.


Biomarkers of B vitamins, alcohol intake, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase polymorphisms, and breast cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study

Dr Sabina Rinaldi, at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, explored the relationship between folate intake and breast cancer risk.

The research found a link between higher dietary folate intake and lower risk of hormonal receptor negative breast cancer in premenopausal women.