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Dietary patterns derived with multiple methods from food diaries and breast cancer risk in the UK Dietary Cohort Consortium



In spite of several studies relating dietary patterns to breast cancer risk, evidence so far remains inconsistent. This study aimed to investigate associations of dietary patterns derived with three different methods with breast cancer risk.


The Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS), principal components analyses (PCA) and reduced rank regression (RRR) were used to derive dietary patterns in a case–control study of 610 breast cancer cases and 1891 matched controls within four UK cohort studies. Dietary intakes were collected prospectively using 4- to 7-day food diaries and resulting food consumption data were grouped into 42 food groups. Conditional logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) for associations between pattern scores and breast cancer risk adjusting for relevant covariates. A separate model was fitted for post-menopausal women only.


The MDS was not associated with breast cancer risk (OR comparing first tertile with third 1.20 (95% CI 0.92; 1.56)), nor the first PCA-derived dietary pattern, explaining 2.7% of variation of diet and characterized by cheese, crisps and savoury snacks, legumes, nuts and seeds (OR 1.18 (95% CI 0.91; 1.53)). The first RRR-derived pattern, a ‘high-alcohol’ pattern, was associated with a higher risk of breast cancer (OR 1.27; 95% CI 1.00; 1.62), which was most pronounced in post-menopausal women (OR 1.46 (95% CI 1.08; 1.98)).


A ‘high-alcohol’ dietary pattern derived with RRR was associated with an increased breast cancer risk; no evidence of associations of other dietary patterns with breast cancer risk was observed in this study.

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We thank the participants in the cohort studies for their contributions to this research. Sheila Rodwell (also known professionally as Sheila Bingham), who died in 2009, established the UK Dietary Cohort Consortium as part of the Medical Research Council Centre for Nutritional Epidemiology and Cancer of which she was the director.

Author contributions

AMS, CCD, TJK, BJC, VJB, JEC, DCG, RHK, AB, AMcT, MAHL, GM, EJB and KTK: acquired data; GP performed statistical analyses and wrote the manuscript; and all authors: interpreted data, contributed to and reviewed the manuscript, and read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to G K Pot.

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Competing interests

DCG has received grant funding from Danone and WCRF. The remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Supplementary Information accompanies this paper on European Journal of Clinical Nutrition website

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Pot, G., Stephen, A., Dahm, C. et al. Dietary patterns derived with multiple methods from food diaries and breast cancer risk in the UK Dietary Cohort Consortium. Eur J Clin Nutr 68, 1353–1358 (2014).

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