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Acrylamide may boost certain breast cancers

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By David Liu

A new study suggests that eating too much of bakery products and fried foods prepared at high temperature may increase risk of certain types of breast cancer due to the presence of a possible human carcinogen produced during the thermal process.
Heat-treated carbohydrate-rich food products can carry high levels of a potential human carcinogen called acrylamide.  Previous studies have linked intake of the naturally occurring dietary substance to endocrine-related cancers in humans.

G. S. Pedersen and colleagues from Maastricht University in the Netherlands analyzed data from 62,573 women aged 55-69 when entering the study in 1986 and found that higher intakes of acrylamide were associated with higher risk of certain types of breast cancer compared to lower intakes.

bread_666407903.jpgDuring the 13-year-follow-up, 2225 cases of breast cancer were identified with hormone receptor status information available in 43 percent of the cases.

No association was observed between overall breast cancer risk and acrylamide intake. Acrylamide intake was not associated with receptor-negative breast cancer either, irrespective of smoking status.

Among never-smoking women, an association existed between acrylamide intake and ER positive, PR positive and joint receptor-positive breast cancer.

Specifically, those in the highest quintile of acrylamide intake were 31%, 47% and 43% more likely to have a breast cancer that was ER positive, PR positive and ER positive/PR positive respectively compared to those in the lowest quintile.

The researchers concluded that "This study showed some indications of a positive association between dietary acrylamide intake and receptor-positive breast cancer risk in postmenopausal never-smoking women. Further studies are needed to confirm or refute our observations."

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