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Folate Intake And Risk Of Breast Cancer
A study of more than 80,000 women form the Nurses' Health Study was performed in 1980 with a 16 year follow-up, to asses the association between folate intake and the risk of breast cancer and whether a higher folate intake may reduce excess risk among women who consume alcohol.


A total of 3,483 cases of breast cancer were documented. Total folate intake was not associated with overall risk of breast cancer. Women, who consumed at least 15g/d of alcohol, the risk of breast cancer was highest among those with low folate intake. For total folate intake of at least 600ug/d compared with 150 to 299 ug/d, the multivariate relative risk (RR) was 0.55 (95% confidence interval (CI), 039-0.76; P for trend= 001). After additional adjustment for intake of beta-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin performed vitamin A and total vitamins C and E the association was only slightly attenuated.

The strongest risk of breast cancer associated with alcohol intake was among women with total folate intake of less than 300ug/d (for alcohol intake >15g/d vs <15g/d, multivariate RR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.15-1.50). Women who consumed at least 300ug/d of folate, the multivariate RR for intake of at least 15g/d of alcohol vs less than 15g/d was 1.05 (95% CI, 0.92-1.20). Use of multivitamins supplements, the major source of folate, was associated with a lower breast cancer risk among women who consumed at least 15g/d of alcohol.

The findings suggest that with adequate folate intake the excess risk of breast cancer associated with alcohol consumption may be reduced.

Source:Wannamethee SG; Sharper AG, "Type of alcoholic drink and risk of major coronary heart disease events and all-cause mortality", American Journal of Public Health, Vol 89, No5, 1999, pp685-690

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