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Dietary Intake of Nitrate Relative to Antioxidant Vitamin in Relation to Breast Cancer Risk: A Case-Control Study

Yang, Yoon Jung, Hwang, Se-Hee, Kim, Hyun Ja, Nam, Seok-Jin, Kong, Gu, Kim, Mi Kyung
Nutrition and cancer 2010 v.62 no.5 pp. 555-566
women, menopause, antioxidants, vitamins, nitrates, food intake, risk assessment, food frequency questionnaires, breast neoplasms
Nitrate is a precursor in the endogenous formation of N-nitroso compounds, which are potent animal carcinogens, whereas antioxidant vitamins have been suggested to protect against carcinogenesis. Interestingly, nitrate and antioxidant vitamins stem from the same dietary sources. We investigated whether the intake of nitrate relative to antioxidant vitamins is associated with the risk of breast cancer. A total of 362 breast cancer cases were matched to the 362 controls by age and menopausal status. Dietary intake was assessed using a quantitative food frequency questionnaire with 121 food items by trained interviewers. The nitrate to antioxidant vitamin consumption ratio was then calculated. Conditional logistic regression analysis was used to obtain odds ratios (ORs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI). Mean intakes of nitrate for cases and controls were 421 mg/day and 424 mg/day, respectively. Intakes of nitrate, nitrate/β-carotene, nitrate/vitamin C, and nitrate/vitamin E were not associated with breast cancer risk. However, higher breast cancer risk was observed with higher intake of nitrate/folate (OR = 2.03, 95% CI = 1.16-3.54, P for trend = 0.052). Our results suggest that lowering the ratio of nitrate to folate intake may be effective in reducing breast cancer risk.