The dietary inflammatory index (DII) has been associated with breast cancer incidence and survival. However, the association between DII and cancer recurrence and mortality among patients with breast cancer has not been investigated. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate whether DII was positively associated with risk for cancer recurrence and overall mortality among patients with breast cancer. Among 511 women (51.9 ± 10.7 years; stage 0–3) who underwent breast cancer surgery, 88 had cancer recurrence, and 44 died during follow–up until 213 months (average disease free survival of 84.3 ± 42.4 months and overall survival of 69.3 ± 38.9 months). The DII assessed after surgery (5.4 ± 5.2 months after diagnosis) was significantly higher in patients with recurrence than those without recurrence, and Cox proportional hazards regression analysis showed that it was positively associated with the risk for cancer recurrence (hazard ratio (HR) 2.347, confidence interval (CI) 1.17–4.71) and overall mortality (HR 3.049, CI 1.08–8.83) after adjusting for confounding factors. Disease-free survival and overall survival rates were significantly lower in patients with higher DII scores. In addition, the DII was positively associated with the risk for cancer recurrence according to prognostic factors, such as age (<50 years), premenopausal status, body mass index (≥25 kg/m2
), HR+, tumor size (>2 cm), and presence of lymph node metastasis. The present study showed that anti-inflammatory diets may decrease the risk of cancer recurrence and overall mortality in patients with breast cancer, particularly those with prognostic factors, such as younger age, premenopausal status, obesity, HR+ breast cancer, tumor size >2 cm, and presence of lymph node metastasis.
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