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High fiber intake reduces estrogen levels in Latina women, say Keck School of Medicine researchers

SEATTLE, October 18, 2004- Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, and the University of Helsinki in Finland have shown that, in Mexican American women, higher intake of dietary fiber is associated with lower circulating estrogen levels. Because high estrogen levels have been linked to breast cancer, this finding could provide a significant step toward preventing breast cancer.

Their findings are being presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Frontiers in Cancer Research Prevention Meeting in a poster presentation on Sunday, October 17th, and in a press conference entitled "Adages, Antioxidants and Prevention," being held on Monday, October 18th.

Although there have been several studies that have looked at the relationship between dietary fiber and breast cancer, they are equivocal. Researchers have yet to connect the two, to show a true and unequivocal cause-and-effect relationship between fiber and breast cancer risk. However, there is scientific evidence that dietary fiber may play an important role in the metabolism of estrogens and may therefore be an important determinant of circulating estrogen levels in the body.

"There's been so much research on this subject, and yet the jury's still out," says Kristine Monroe, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Keck School's Department of Preventive Medicine and first author on the study. "Latinas enrolled in the Multiethnic Cohort Study have lower breast cancer rates than any major racial/ethnic group in the U.S. Even after adjusting for known risk factors, their incidence rate is still 20 percent less than white women, who have been the focus of the majority of earlier research and whose dietary fiber intake is generally not that high."

To rectify that situation, Monroe decided to use data collected by the National Institutes of Health-funded Multiethnic
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Contact: Jon Weiner
jonweine@usc.edu
323-442-2830
University of Southern California
18-Oct-2004


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