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Can Nutrition Lower the Risk of Recurrence in Breast Cancer?


The impact of diet on breast cancer prognosis is poorly understood. Therefore, we conducted a literature search summarizing the current evidence on the effect of diet on breast cancer recurrence and mortality. The PubMed database was searched for original studies, reviews, and meta-analyses published between 2010 and 2017. Studies related to diet, dietary patterns, special diets or specific dietary factors, and breast cancer recurrence or mortality were included. Adherence to high diet quality indices (relative risk (RR) 0.74, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.60-0.90) and a prudent/healthy dietary pattern (RR 0.76, 95% CI 0.60-0.95) may have a beneficial effect on breast cancer prognosis, whereas a Western/unhealthy diet is associated with poorer overall mortality (RR 1.44, 95% CI 1.17-1.77). For low-fat diets, the findings are inconsistent. A positive effect of the Mediterranean Diet was found for all-cause mortality, but no beneficial effect from other diets such as low-carbohydrate, ketogenic or vegetarian/vegan diets was observed. Alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk for breast cancer recurrence. No general recommendation for soy exists, but occasional intake seems to be acceptable, whereas the use of other supplements is not justified. Adherence to high-quality diets and a prudent/healthy dietary pattern seem to be beneficial for breast cancer prognosis. No clear evidence for a benefit from special diets, soy products, or other supplements was found.