The ubiquitous food contaminant cadmium has features of an estrogen mimetic that may promote the development of estrogen-dependent malignancies, such as breast cancer. However, no prospective studies of cadmium exposure and breast cancer risk have been reported. , We examined the association between dietary cadmium exposure (at baseline, 1987) and the risk of overall and estrogen receptor (ER)-defined (ER+ or ER-) breast cancer within a population-based prospective cohort of 55,987 postmenopausal women. During an average of 12.2 years of follow-up, 2,112 incident cases of invasive breast cancer were ascertained (1,626 ER+ and 290 ER-). After adjusting for confounders, including consumption of whole grains and vegetables (which account for 40% of the dietary exposure, but also contain putative anticarcinogenic phytochemicals), dietary cadmium intake was positively associated with overall breast cancer tumors, comparing the highest tertile with the lowest [rate ratio (RR), 1.21; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.07-1.36; P-trend = 0.02]. Among lean and normal weight women, statistically significant associations were observed for all tumors (RR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.07-1.50) and for ER+ tumors (RR, 125; 95% CI, 1.03-1.52) and similar, but not statistically significant associations were found for ER- tumors (RR, 1.22; 95% CI, 0.76-1.93). The risk of breast cancer increased with increasing cadmium exposure similarly within each textile of whole grain/vegetable consumption and decreased with increasing consumption of whole grain/vegetables within each tertile of cadmium exposure (P-interaction = 0.73). Overall, these results suggest a role for dietary cadmium in postmenopausal breast cancer development.
2012. Vol. 72, no 6, 1459-1466 p.