Phenolic Acids—Found in Coffee, Fruits, Vegetables—Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Research presented at the European Congress on Obesity found that a high intake of phenolic acids—found in things like coffee, cereal grains, fruits, and vegetables—is associated with a decreased risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer.

Researchers assessed phenolic acid intake, including hydroxycinnamic and hydroxybenzoic acids, using 136-item food frequency questionnaires. The study included 11,028 Mediterranean women who were participating in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort. Questionnaires were completed at baseline, and participants were followed for 11.8 years. A total of 101 breast cancer cases occurred during the study period.

Phenolic acid consumption and postmenopausal breast cancer risk

Breast cancer risk was inversely associated with hydroxycinnamic acid consumption (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.38; 95% CI, 0.16-0.88). Participants were categorized according to their intake of specific types of phenolic acids. The tertile of women with the highest consumption of hydroxycinnamic acids had a breast cancer risk that was 62% lower than the tertile with the lowest intake (HR=0.35; 95% CI, 0.15-0.82).

“These findings support current World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research guidelines to adhere to a diet high in fruits and vegetables for cancer prevention,” the researchers concluded.