Estrogen receptor status and dietary intakes in breast cancer patients

Linda C. Harlan, Ralph J. Coates, Gladys Block, Raymond S. Greenberg, Abby Ershow, Michele Forman, Donald F. Austin, Vivien Chen, Steven B. Heymsfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


We used data from a study of racial differences in cancer patient survival to examine the association between estrogen receptor status and the intake of nutrients and food groups among 689 black and white women, ages 20–79, with breast cancer newly diagnosed in 1985 and 1986. We reviewed medical records and collected interview data, including a 34-item food frequency questionnaire. Consistent with published reports, we found positive estrogen receptor status to be positively associated with age and inversely associated with parity and oral contraceptive use. Whites were more likely than blacks to have estrogen receptor-positive tumors. We examined eight nutrients and six food groups in multivariate analyses for association with estrogen receptor status. After adjusting for age, race, usual body mass index, and parity, a high percentage of calories from fat was associated with estrogen receptor-positive cancer, and a high percentage of calories from carbohydrates was associated with estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer. These findings indicate that women with breast cancer who are on diets with a high percentage of calories from fat may be more likely to develop estrogen receptor-positive cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-31
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Body mass
  • Breast neoplasms
  • Carbohydrates
  • Diet
  • Dietary fat
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Parity
  • Race
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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