• breast cancer;
  • factor analysis;
  • principal components;
  • menopausal status;
  • family history


To generate broad eating patterns, which could explain more adequately the breast cancer etiology, we conducted an exploratory factor analysis in Montevideo, Uruguay. The study included 442 newly diagnosed and microscopically confirmed cases with breast cancer and 442 hospitalized controls, with non-neoplastic diseases. Factor analysis (principal components) was conducted in the control series, and as a result, 6 factors were extracted. These factors were labeled as traditional, healthy, western, stew, high-fat and drinker. The model explained 58.3% of the variance. After scoring the rotated factors, the relations between scores and breast cancer risk factors were analyzed by using Pearson correlation coefficients. After this step, the odds ratios of breast cancer for continuous scores of the rotated factors were carefully analyzed. The highest risk was directly associated with the western diet (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.13–1.51), whereas the traditional (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.64–0.93), healthy (OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.73–0.98) and stew (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.71–0.98) diets were significantly protective. Women who reported a history of breast cancer among mother and sisters displayed strong elevations in risk for western (OR 2.03, 95% CI 1.11–3.72) and high-fat (OR 2.72, 95%CI 1.16–6.37) dietary patterns. This finding could suggest that gene–dietary interaction could play an important role in breast carcinogenesis. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.