Few epidemiologic studies have investigated the potential relation between flavonoids and breast cancer risk. We have applied recently published data on the composition of foods and beverages in terms of six principal classes of flavonoids (i.e., flavanones, flavan-3-ols, flavonols, flavones, anthocyanidines, and isoflavones) on dietary information collected in a large-case control study of breast cancer conducted in Italy between 1991 and 1994. The study included 2,569 women with incident, histologically confirmed breast cancer, and 2,588 hospital controls. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals were estimated by multiple logistic regression models. After allowance for major confounding factors and energy intake, a reduced risk of breast cancer was found for increasing intake of flavones (OR, 0.81, for the highest versus the lowest quintile; P-trend, 0.02), and flavonols (OR, 0.80; P-trend, 0.06). No significant association was found for other flavonoids, including flavanones (OR, 0.95), flavan-3-ols (OR, 0.86), anthocyanidins (OR, 1.09), as well as for isoflavones (OR, 1.05). The findings of this large study of an inverse association between flavones and breast cancer risk confirm the results of a Greek study.
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