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Uruguayan Medical Journal

ISSN: 1688-0390

Vol.15 - Nº 2 - Ago. 1999

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Phytoestrogens and risk of breast cancer: a case-control study

Rev Med Urug 1999; 15: 94-102
Full text (spanish) |  Full text (spanish) (New windows, pdf) | Abstract


Background. Breast cancer is the most frequent kind of

tumor among Uruguayan women, with adjusted rate of

92.6 cases per 100.00 women. This high frequency puts

Uruguayan women in the first place among Latin-

American populations and in the sixth place among the

whole world. An epidemiological case-control study was

conducted between May 1994 and December 1997 to

estimate risk factors of breast cancer.

Objective.The primal objective of this study was to

establish whether intake of food rich in phytoestrogens

(weak estrogenso riginatedf rom vegetables) could be associated

with a significant reduction in breast cancer risk.

Methods. Three hundred and sixty-five incidental and

histologically proved carriers of breast cancer and 397

patients with non neoplasic diseases, non associated with

the diet underwent a questionnairein cluding 64 nutritional

items representative of Uruguayan diet.

Results. Using multivaried models including relevant

variables for breast cancer, we observed that food rich in

phyestrogens (vegetables, cereals, fruits, leguminous,

tubers and fiber diet) was associated with a significant

decrease in breast cancer risk. A significant protective

effect (that was more evident for total lignan and enterodiol)

was shown when isolated phytoestrogens (enterolacton,

enterodiol, total lignan and isoflavonoid) were


Conclusions. If these results were confirmed, frequent

intake of food rich in phyestrogens could contribute in a

relevant decrease in the incidence of breast cancer. Due

the importance of primary prevention and the easiness of

modifying diets in Uruguayan population, ongoing studies

are primal for Uruguayan public health in order to

corroborate these findings.