BACKGROUND:

Carotenoids may reduce risk of benign breast disease (BBD), an independent risk factor for breast cancer, through antioxidative or antiproliferative mechanisms. Exposure to carotenoids may be most important during adolescence when breast tissue is still developing. We examined adolescent carotenoid intake in relation to BBD in young women.

METHODS:

In 6593 adolescent girls in the prospective Growing Up Today Study cohort, intakes of α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin, and lycopene were assessed by using the means from food-frequency questionnaires in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Girls reported biopsy-confirmed BBD on questionnaires in 2005, 2007, and 2010 (n = 122). We conducted logistic regression of energy-adjusted carotenoid intakes in relation to BBD, adjusted for age, family history of breast cancer or BBD, age at menarche, nulliparity, alcohol intake, BMI, and physical activity.

RESULTS:

Mean (SD) age at baseline was 12.0 (1.6) years. β-Carotene intake was inversely associated with BBD; comparing the highest to lowest quartile, the multivariate-adjusted odds ratio was 0.58 (95% confidence interval: 0.34–1.00; P-trend = .03). α-Carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin were also inversely associated with BBD, but the associations were not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adolescent carotenoid intake may be associated with lower BBD risk; these findings warrant further study.

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