Validation of repeated self-reported n-3 PUFA intake using serum phospholipid fatty acids as a biomarker in breast cancer patients during treatment
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionNutrition Journal. 2018, 17:94 1-12. 10.1186/s12937-018-0402-6
Background The role of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in breast cancer is not clear and under debate. To explore this relationship it is important to have proper validated dietary assessment methods for measuring the intake of n-3 PUFAs. The aim of the current study is to validate two different methods used to assess the intake of selected n-3 PUFAs as well as food sources of long-chained n-3 PUFAs. Also, we aim to study how stable the intake of fatty acids is during breast cancer treatment. Methods The study-population was patients with breast cancer (Stages I-II) or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS-grade III) undergoing treatment (n = 49) in Norway. Dietary intake was assessed by two self-administered methods, a 256 food item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and a 7-day pre-coded food diary (PFD). The FFQ was administered presurgery and twelve months postsurgery, and the PFD was administered shortly after surgery (10 +/− 2 days), six and twelve months postsurgery. Fasting blood samples (presurgery, six and twelve months postsurgery) were analysed for serum phospholipid fatty acids, a biomarker for intake of n-3 PUFAs. Results Mean (SD) age was 54.2 (7.8) years at diagnosis, and the mean (SD) body mass index (BMI) was 24.8 (3.4) kg/m2. Correlation coefficients between dietary intakes of n-3 PUFAs measured with the FFQ and the PFD ranged from 0.35 to 0.66. The correlation coefficients between the PFD and the biomarker (serum phospholipid n-3 PUFAs) as well as between the FFQ and the biomarker demonstrated stronger correlations twelve months after surgery (ρ 0.40–0.56 and 0.36–0.53, respectively) compared to around surgery (ρ 0.08–0.20 and 0.28–0.38, respectively). The same pattern was observed for intake of fatty fish. The intake of n-3 PUFAs did not change during treatment assessed by the FFQ, PFD or biomarker. Conclusion These results indicate that the FFQ and the PFD can be used to assess dietary intake of fish and n-3 PUFAs in breast cancer patients during breast cancer treatment. Still, the PFD shortly after surgery should be used with caution. The diet of patients undergoing breast cancer treatment was quite stable, and the intake of n-3 PUFAs did not change.