Link Between Consumption of Meat and Breast Cancer Risk may Vary Based on Race

by Kathy Jones on Nov 4 2012 10:39 AM

 Link Between Consumption of Meat and Breast Cancer Risk may Vary Based on Race
Research from The Cancer Institute of New Jersey shows that there is a difference in how consumption of meat impacts breast cancer risk in African-American women and Caucasian women.
The work will be presented as a scientific poster during the 2012 American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Annual Research Conference in Washington, D.C., this week. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is a Center of Excellence of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS).

Previous research on meat intake and its relation to breast cancer risk has been limited to Caucasian women. Using data from a new case-control study based at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, known as the Women''s Circle of Health Study, investigators explored the association between meat consumption and breast cancer risk in African-American women.

Using a questionnaire focused on the frequency of food intake, researchers examined 976 African-American and 873 Caucasian women with breast cancer and 1,165 African-American and 865 Caucasian women without cancer.

Investigators found that Caucasian women in the group with the highest consumption appeared to have an increased breast cancer risk if they ate unprocessed red meat and poultry as compared to Caucasian women with the lowest intake. Incremental increases in consumption (500 grams per week of all red meat and 200 grams per week of poultry) also seemed to increase breast cancer risk in this group. Stronger estimates were noted for Caucasian women who were premenopausal. In addition, there was an elevated risk of estrogen receptor positive and progesterone receptor positive tumors in Caucasian women related to a 500 gram per week increase in total red meat intake. Poultry intake was associated with estrogen receptor negative and progesterone receptor negative tumors.

In African-American women, no clear association was found between intake of any kind of meat and breast cancer risk. There was only a suggestion of a reduction in risk of tumors that lacked estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors for African-American women having a high intake of red meat.

"This research supports encouraging Caucasian women to limit their intake of both red meat and poultry in order to reduce their risk of breast cancer, which is in line with the AICR''s recommendation of limiting red meat intake to less than 500 grams per week. Being that this study may be one of the first to examine this association in African-American women, results from this group are not conclusive, and more investigation is needed to replicate these findings," noted lead author, Urmila Chandran, MA, MPH, PhD(C), a research teaching specialist at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, who was awarded an AICR Scholarship Award to present the work at the scientific conference.

Senior author Elisa V. Bandera, MD, PhD, an epidemiologist at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is the lead investigator on the Women''s Circle of Health Study, which separately aims to examine the impact of multiple risk factors on breast cancer in African-American women. "Most breast cancer studies have been conducted in Caucasian women. Our study provides new information on the role consumption of animal foods play on breast cancer development in women of European and African ancestry," noted Dr. Bandera, who is also an associate professor of epidemiology at RWJMS and UMDNJ-School of Public Health.

Along with Bandera and Chandran, other investigators include: Christine Ambrosone, Gary Zirpoli, Gregory Ciupak, Susan E. McCann, and Zhihong Gong, Roswell Park Cancer Institute; Karen Pawlish, New Jersey State Cancer Registry; and Yong Lin and Kitaw Demissie, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and UMDNJ-School of Public Health.

The work is supported by funding from the National Cancer Institute: [P01 CA151135, R01 CA100598, K22 CA138563], P30 CA0727720, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The meeting, which is open to registered participants only, runs today through tomorrow.