HealthDay News — For women with breast cancer, higher intake of protein is associated with a modest survival advantage, according to a study published online November 7 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Michelle D. Holmes, MD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined data from 6,348 women diagnosed with stage I to III breast cancer between 1976 and 2004, with 1,046 distant recurrences. The authors calculated the relative risks for recurrence according to quintiles of post-diagnostic diet based on follow-up until 2010. 

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The researchers found that energy-adjusted protein intake was inversely associated with recurrence. Compared with the lowest quintile of intake, multivariable relative risks for increasing quintiles of intake were 0.95 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 1.15), 0.92 (95%  CI, 0.76 to 1.11), 0.75 (95% CI, 0.61 to 0.91), and 0.84 (95% CI, 0.69 to 1.03), respectively (P trend = 0.02). The corresponding relative risks were 0.88 (95% CI, 0.73 to 1.06), 0.85 (95% CI, 0.70 to 1.02), 0.75 (95% CI, 0.62 to 0.92), and 0.78 (95% CI, 0.63 to 0.95) (P trend = 0.003) for animal protein intake. The association was not affected by insulin receptor status. There was no clear correlation seen for any protein-containing foods.

“Our data suggest that there is likely no advantage for women with a history of breast cancer in restricting protein intake or protein-containing foods,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.

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