Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in women worldwide. Studies regarding complex breast cancer aetiology are limited and the results are inconclusive. We investigated the associations between dietary patterns (DPs), metabolic-hormone profiles (M-HPs), and breast cancer risk. This case-control study involved 420 women aged 40–79 years from north-eastern Poland, including 190 newly-diagnosed breast cancer cases. The serum concentration of lipid components, glucose, and hormones (oestradiol, progesterone, testosterone, prolactin, cortisol, insulin) was marked in 129 post-menopausal women (82 controls, 47 cases). The food frequency consumption was collected using a validated 62-item food frequency questionnaire. A posteriori
DPs or M-HPs were derived with a Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Three DPs: ‘Non-Healthy’, ‘Prudent’, and ‘Margarine and Sweetened Dairy’ and two M-HPs: ‘Metabolic-Syndrome’ and ‘High-Hormone’ were identified. The ‘Polish-adapted Mediterranean Diet’ (‘Polish-aMED’) score was calculated. The risk of breast cancer risk was three-times higher (odds ratio (OR): 2.90; 95% confidence interval (95% Cl): 1.62–5.21; p
< 0.001) in the upper tertile of the ‘Non-Healthy’ pattern (reference: bottom tertile) and five-times higher (OR: 5.34; 95% Cl: 1.84–15.48; p
< 0.01) in the upper tertile of the ‘High-Hormone’ profile (reference: bottom tertile). There was a positive association of ‘Metabolic-Syndrome’ profile and an inverse association of ‘Polish-aMED’ score with the risk of breast cancer, which disappeared after adjustment for confounders. No significant association between ‘Prudent’ or ‘Margarine and Sweetened Dairy’ DPs and cancer risk was revealed. Concluding, a pro-healthy diet is insufficient to reduce the risk of breast cancer in peri- and postmenopausal women. The findings highlight the harmful effect of the ‘High-Hormone’ profile and the ‘Non-Healthy’ dietary pattern on breast cancer risk. In breast cancer prevention, special attention should be paid to decreasing the adherence to the ‘Non-Healthy’ pattern by reducing the consumption of highly processed food and foods with a high content of sugar and animal fat. There is also a need to monitor the concentration of multiple sex hormones in the context of breast cancer risk.
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