September 5, 2022

Dietary exposure to acrylamide and breast cancer risk: results from the NutriNet-Santé cohort

A Bellicha et al, 2022. Dietary exposure to acrylamide and breast cancer risk: results from the NutriNet-Santé cohort, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published online.


Background: Acrylamide is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer but epidemiologic evidence on the carcinogenicity of acrylamide from dietary sources is limited.

Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the associations between dietary acrylamide and breast cancer risk in the NutriNet-Santé cohort, accounting for menopausal and hormone receptor status.

Methods: This prospective cohort study included 80,597 French females (mean ± SD age at baseline: 40.8 ± 14 y) during a mean ± SD follow-up of 8.8 ± 2.3 y. Acrylamide intake was evaluated using repeated 24-h dietary records (n ± SD = 5.5 ± 3.0), linked to a comprehensive food composition database. Associations between acrylamide intake and breast cancer risk (overall, premenopausal, and postmenopausal) were assessed by Cox hazard models adjusted for known risk factors (sociodemographic, anthropometric, lifestyle, medical history, and nutritional factors).

Results: The mean ± SD dietary acrylamide intake was 30.1 ± 21.9 µg/d (main contributors: coffee, potato fries and chips, pastries, cakes, bread). During follow-up, 1016 first incident breast cancer cases were diagnosed (431 premenopausal, 585 postmenopausal). A borderline significant positive association was observed between dietary acrylamide exposure and breast cancer risk overall (HR for quartile 4 compared with 1: 1.21; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.47) and a positive association was observed with premenopausal cancer (HRQ4vs.Q1: 1.40; 95% CI: 1.04, 1.88). Restricted cubic spline analyses suggested evidence for nonlinearity of these associations, with higher HRs for intermediate (quartile 2) and high (quartile 4) exposures. Receptor-specific analyses revealed positive associations with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer (total and premenopausal). Acrylamide intake was not associated with postmenopausal breast cancer.

Conclusions: Results from this large prospective cohort study suggest a positive association between dietary acrylamide and breast cancer risk, especially in premenopausal females, and provide new insights that support continued mitigation strategies to reduce the content of acrylamide in food.This trial was registered at as NCT03335644.

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