Micronutrients Involved in One-Carbon Metabolism and Risk of Breast Cancer Subtypes Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Vitamins involved in one-carbon metabolism are hypothesized to influence breast cancer (BC) risk. However, epidemiologic studies that examined associations between B vitamin intake and BC risk have provided inconsistent results. We prospectively examined, in the Italian ORDET cohort, whether B vitamin consumption was associated with risk of BC and BC subtypes. METHODS: After a mean follow-up of 16.5 years, 391 BCs were diagnosed among 10,786 cohort women. B vitamin intakes were estimated from food frequency questionnaires. Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for energy intake and confounders, estimated hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for BC according to intake. RESULTS: RRs were 0.61 (95% CI 0.38-0.97 highest vs. lowest quartile; P trend 0.025) for thiamine; 0.48 (95% CI 0.32-0.71; P trend <0.001) for riboflavin; 0.59 (95% CI 0.39-0.90; P trend 0.008) for vitamin B6, and 0.65 (95% CI 0.44-0.95; P trend 0.021) for folate. As regards risk of BC subtypes, high riboflavin and folate were significantly associated with lower risk of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) and progesterone receptor positive (PR+) cancers, and high thiamine was associated with lower risk of ER-PR- cancers. High riboflavin was associated with lower risk of both HER2+ and HER2- cancers, high folate with lower risk of HER2- disease, and high thiamine with HER2+ disease. CONCLUSIONS: These findings support protective effects of thiamine and one-carbon metabolism vitamins (folate, riboflavin, and vitamin B6) against BC in general; while folate may also protect against ER+PR+ and HER2- disease; and thiamine against ER-PR-, and HER2+ disease.


  • Cancarini, Ilaria
  • Krogh, Vittorio
  • Agnoli, Claudia
  • Grioni, Sara
  • Matullo, Giuseppe
  • Pala, Valeria
  • Pedraglio, Samuele
  • Contiero, Paolo
  • Riva, Cristina
  • Muti, Paola
  • Sieri, Sabina

publication date

  • 2015