Dietary Fat Reduction as a Hypothesis for the Prevention of Postmenopausal Breast Cancer, and a Discussion of Hypothesis Testing Research Strategies

  • Ross L. Prentice
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 364)


The hypothesis that a low fat diet may reduce the risk of human breast cancer has been promulgated for several decades. Experimental studies in rodent systems indicate specific roles for fat reduction and calorie restriction in inhibiting mammary tumor carcinogenesis.1-3 International correlational studies suggest strong relationships between dietary fat and breast cancer incidence and mortality rates, particularly for postmenopausal women,4-5 and there is supportive data from time trend and migrant studies.5 Analytic epidemiologic studies, on the other hand, have sometimes6 been interpreted as providing little or no support for an association of public health importance. Small scale human dietary intervention trials among postmenopausal women have documented changes in blood hormones,7-8 but have not been of sufficient size to usefully examine dietary intervention effects on breast cancer incidence or survival. Hence the dietary fat and breast cancer hypothesis remains controversial even after decades of rather intensive epidemiologic study.


Breast Cancer Breast Cancer Incidence Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Breast Cancer Incidence Rate Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Risk 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ross L. Prentice
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Public Health SciencesFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA

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