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Olive Oil Consumption and

Breast Cancer Risk


Jessica Caricato
18 April 2014

Introduction
Breast cancer is
one of the most
dangerous issues
in womens
health currently.

Introduction
The Mediterranean dietary pattern is
studied for its association with many
health conditions
One parameter which defines the
Mediterranean diet is an increased
consumption of olive oil.

Introduction
Polyphenols are known to inhibit the
growth of cancerous cells
Still unknown how consumption of
polyphenols helps
Olive oil is high in polyphenols
Highly phenolic foods defined as
having over 200 mg/kg

Introduction

DOES AN INCREASED
CONSUMPTION OF OLIVE OIL
HAVE A PROTECTIVE EFFECT
AGAINST BREAST CANCER RISK
IN MEDITERRANEAN WOMEN?

Increased consumption of olive oil in


Italian populations
Three studies (1,2,3) found a
significant inverse association
between olive oil consumption and
breast cancer risk
One study (1) found this association
by testing percent of fat intake as
olive oil

Increased consumption of olive oil in


Spanish populations
Three studies (4, 5,6) found a
significant inverse association
between olive oil consumption and
breast cancer risk
All three share a case-control design
One study (3), focused on women in
the Canary Islands and found that
despite a OR of .27 in highest intake
quartile, BC risk of entire population
was higher than Spain in general.

Increased consumption of olive oil in


postmenopausal Mediterranean women

Three studies (7,8,9) found a


significant inverse association
between olive oil and breast cancer
risk in postmenopausal women
One of these studies (9) found
significant results in only
postmenopausal women, and no
association in other demographics
Further study could indicate presence
of a confounding variable

Effect of polyphenol content


One study (8) assessed oxidative
DNA damage across randomized
groups given olive oil of varying
phenolic content.
Significantly less oxidative damage
was noticed in subjects consuming
the highly phenolic oil

Dietary fat, olive oil intake, and


breast cancer risk
Martin-Moreno et al. studied the association between
olive oil consumption and breast cancer risk in Spanish
women.
Purpose: The authors conducted a case-control study
on Spanish women to assess the relationship between
various types of dietary fats and BC risk.
Method: 762 cases and 988 controls, age 18-75, were
assessed in this study. Controls were randomly
selected and data was collected via a semiquantitative FFQ.

5. MartinMoreno JM, Willett WC, Gorgojo L, Banegas JR, Rodriguez


Artalejo F, FernandezRodriguez JC, Boyle P. Dietary fat, olive oil intake
and breast cancer risk. International Journal of Cancer 1994 ; 58(6), 774-

Dietary fat, olive oil intake, and


breast cancer risk
Results: Each of the items on the FFQ,
including olive oil, was sorted by
quartile based on increasing levels of
intake. The authors found that olive oil
consumption was significantly related
to a decrease in breast cancer risk (for
Q1 vs. Q4: OR=0.66, 95% CI 0.46-0.97,
P=0.01), with Q4 indicating olive oil
consumption over 2 T. daily

Dietary fat, olive oil intake, and


breast cancer risk
Discussion: total fat intake had no
association with breast cancer risk, but
a diet with a higher proportion of
dietary fat as olive oil was associated
with decreased BC risk. This means
that % intake of olive oil has a greater
protective effect against BC than raw
amount of olive oil intake does.

Dietary fat, olive oil intake, and


breast cancer risk
The authors also specified that to
qualify for the highest intake quartile,
subjects had to report consumption of
at least 2 T per day of olive oil. The
results of this study may help lead to
specific guidelines about how much
olive oil is needed in order to create a
protective effect against breast cancer
risk.

Summary
The literature discussed in this paper
largely gives consistent support to
the theory that olive oil consumption
is inversely related to breast cancer
risk in populations of Mediterranean
women.
The consistently significant findings
of many of these studies lose some
of their impact because their study
designs are so similar.

Future Research
Varied study designs
Mechanism of absorption of
polyphenols
Other populations

Conclusions
The hypothesis that olive oil has a protective effect
against breast cancer in Mediterranean women is
supported by the evidence in this paper, however,
there is not enough data to conclude that this
association is universally applicable
The one conclusion that every one of these studies
supports completely is that increasing the proportion
of dietary fat consumed as olive oil has no negative
effects.
Breast cancer is such a pressing concern in womens
health that encouraging this change now will be more
helpful than waiting for an irrefutable conclusion.

References
1. La Vecchia C, Negri E, Franceschi S, Decarli A, Giacosa A, Lipworth L. Olive oil, other dietary fats, and the risk of breast cancer
(Italy). Cancer Causes & Control 1995; 6(6), 545-550.

2. Sieri S, Krogh V, Pala V, Muti P, Micheli A, Evangelista A, Berrino F. Dietary patterns and risk of breast cancer in the ORDET cohort.
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 2004; 13(4), 567-572.

3. Masala G, Ambrogetti D, Assedi M, Giorgi D, Del Turco MR, Palli D. Dietary and lifestyle determinants of mammographic breast
density. A longitudinal study in a Mediterranean population. International journal of cancer 2006; 118(7), 1782-1789.

4. Landa MC, Frago N, Tres A. Diet and the risk of breast cancer in Spain. European journal of cancer prevention 1994; 3(4), 313-320.

5. MartinMoreno JM, Willett WC, Gorgojo L, Banegas JR, RodriguezArtalejo F, FernandezRodriguez JC, Boyle P. Dietary fat, olive oil
intake and breast cancer risk. International Journal of Cancer 1994 ; 58(6), 774-780.

6. Garca-Segovia P, Snchez-Villegas A, Doreste J, Santana F, Serra-Majem L. Olive oil consumption and risk of breast cancer in the
Canary Islands: a population-based casecontrol study. Public health nutrition 2006; 9(1a), 163-167.

7. Cottet V, Touvier M, Fournier A, Touillaud MS, Lafay L, Clavel-Chapelon F, Boutron-Ruault MC. Postmenopausal breast cancer risk
and dietary patterns in the E3N-EPIC prospective cohort study. American journal of epidemiology 2009; 170(10), 1257-1267.

8. Salvini S, Sera F, Caruso D, Giovannelli L, Visioli F, Saieva C, Palli D. Daily consumption of a high-phenol extra-virgin olive oil
reduces oxidative DNA damage in postmenopausal women. British journal of nutrition 2006; 95(04), 742-751.

9. Trichopoulou A, Bamia C, Lagiou P, Trichopoulos D. Conformity to traditional Mediterranean diet and breast cancer risk in the Greek
EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) cohort. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2010; 92(3),
620-625.

Image Credits
http://www.saintfrancis.com/breastServices/
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%20Developing.jpg
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q=tbn:ANd9GcROzvs5bCXAtN4IKa4Hk3BRL
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Martin-Moreno et al. (5)
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worldwide.jpg