Adolescence and early adulthood has been identified as a critical time window for establishing breast cancer risk. Mammographic density is an independent risk factor for breast cancer that may be influenced by diet, but there has been limited research conducted on the impact of diet on mammographic density. Thus, we sought to examine the association between adolescent and early adulthood inflammatory dietary patterns, which have previously been associated with breast cancer risk, and premenopausal mammographic density among women in the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII).
This study included control participants with premenopausal mammograms from an existing breast cancer case-control study nested within the NHSII who completed a Food Frequency Questionnaire in 1998 about their diet during high school (HS-FFQ) (n = 685) and/or a Food Frequency Questionnaire in 1991 (Adult-FFQ) when they were 27–44 years old (n = 1068). Digitized analog film mammograms were used to calculate the percent density, absolute dense, and non-dense areas. Generalized linear models were fit to evaluate the associations of a pro-inflammatory dietary pattern and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI, an anti-inflammatory dietary pattern) with each breast density measure.
Significant associations were observed between an adolescent pro-inflammatory dietary pattern and mammographic density in some age-adjusted models; however, these associations did not remain after adjustment for BMI and other breast cancer risk factors. No associations were observed with the pro-inflammatory pattern or with the AHEI pattern in adolescence or early adulthood in fully adjusted models.
To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the dietary patterns during adolescence and early adulthood in relation to mammographic density phenotypes. Our findings do not support an association between adolescent and early adulthood diet and breast density in mid-adulthood that is independent of BMI or other breast cancer risk factors.