Dietary Flavonoids May Reduce Risk Of Breast Cancer

Ying Wang PhD Epidemiology Post-Doc Fellow American Cancer Society Inc Atlanta, GA Interview with: 
Ying Wang PhD
Epidemiology Post-Doc Fellow
American Cancer Society Inc
Atlanta, GA 30303

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Wang: Previous studies suggest that higher intake of fruits and vegetables are associated with lower risk of breast cancer risk, especially estrogen receptor (ER) negative (ER-) tumors that are more aggressive and difficult to treat. We found that postmenopausal women who had higher intake of flavones, a subgroup of flavonoids that are widely distributed in fruits and vegetables, had lower risk of breast cancer. Furthermore, higher intake of flavan-3-ols which is high in non-herbal tea was associated with lower risk of ER- but not ER positive breast cancer.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Wang: Our finding of flavones and overall breast cancer risk was consistent with results from a previous meta-analysis. The finding of flavan-3-ols and ER- breast cancer is consistent with other studies that suggest a beneficial role of plant-based diets in ER- breast cancer risk. Our findings are interesting and not entirely unexpected.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Wang: Although we found some beneficial associations of dietary flavonoid intake and breast cancer risk, we cannot draw cause-effect conclusions. To reduce the risk of breast cancer, to consume a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant foods and to limit intake of alcohol beverages are the nutrition advice from the American Cancer Society.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Wang: Future pooled analysis of large cohort studies is warranted to replicate the findings.


J Nutr. 2014 Aug 20. pii: jn.114.196964. [Epub ahead of print]

Evidence for an Association of Dietary Flavonoid Intake with Breast Cancer Risk by Estrogen Receptor Status Is Limited.

Wang Y1, Gapstur SM1, Gaudet MM1, Peterson JJ2, Dwyer JT3, McCullough ML1