Consumption of sweet foods and breast cancer risk in Italy

A. Tavani, L. Giordano, S. Gallus, R. Talamini, S. Franceschi, A. Giacosa, M. Montella, C. La Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The relation between the intake of sugar and sweets and the risk of breast cancer has been considered in ecological, prospective and case-control studies, but the results are unclear. We analyzed such a relation in a case-control study conducted between 1991 and 1994 in Italy. Patients and methods: Cases were 2569 women with histologically confirmed incident breast cancer and controls were 2588 women admitted to hospital for acute, non-neoplastic, non-hormone-related conditions. Information on diet was based on an interviewer-administered questionnaire tested for reproducibility and validity. The odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed by multiple logistic regression equations. Results: Compared with women with the lowest tertile of intake, women in the highest tertile of intake of desserts (including biscuits, brioches, cakes, puffs and ice-cream) and sugars (including sugar, honey, jam, marmalade and chocolate) had multivariate ORs of 1.19 (95% CI 1.02-1.39) and 1.19 (95% CI 1.02-1.38), respectively. The results were similar in strata of age, body mass index, total energy intake and other covariates. Conclusions: We found a direct association between breast cancer risk and consumption of sweet foods with high glycemic index and load, which increase insulin and insulin growth factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-345
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


  • Breast cancer
  • Case-control study
  • Risk factors
  • Sugar
  • Sweets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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