Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Diet Quality and Breast Cancer Recurrence and Survival: The Pathways Study


Prior research suggests a relationship between overall diet quality and breast cancer survival, although few studies have reported on this topic. We evaluated whether 4 dietary quality indices consistent with healthy eating recommendations around the time of breast cancer diagnosis were associated with risk of recurrence, cause-specific, and all-cause mortality. A total of 3660 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer were included. Diet was assessed an average of 2.3 (range = 0.7-18.7) months after diagnosis, from which 4 dietary quality indices were derived: the American Cancer Society guidelines (ACS), the alternate Mediterranean Diet Index (aMED), the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and the 2015 Healthy Eating Index (HEI). Over 40 888 person-years of follow-up, 461 breast cancer recurrences, and 655 deaths were ascertained. Cox models were used to estimate hazards ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Adjusted comparisons between extreme quintiles showed all 4 dietary quality indices to be inversely associated with all-cause mortality, suggesting a 21%-27% lower risk (ACS HR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.56 to 0.95; aMED HR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.61 to 1.03; DASH HR = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.58 to 1.00; HEI HR = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.60 to 1.01). Similar patterns were noted for non-breast cancer mortality (ACS HR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.48 to 0.98; aMED HR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.50 to 1.05; DASH HR = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.38 to 0.79; HEI HR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.48 to 0.94). None of the dietary quality indices were associated with recurrence or breast cancer-specific mortality. Food intake patterns concordant with dietary quality indices consistent with recommendations for healthy eating may be beneficial for women with breast cancer.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View