Mate Intake and Risk of Breast Cancer in Uruguay: a Case- Control Study


Unit of Oncology and Radiotherapy, Pereira Rossell Women's Hospital, Montevideo, Uruguay


Regarding 'mate' intake (infusion of Ilex paraguariensis herb, a staple beverage in temperate South American regions), most epidemiologic studies showed positive associations with risk of some cancers, (e.g. upper aerodigestive tract), but evidence on breast cancer (BC) risk is limited to a previous multi-site study, which reported a non significant odds ratio [OR]=0.85, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.67-1.09, p for trend=0.31) for the highest quartile of intake. The present study was conducted in order to further assess associations of 'mate' intake with BC risk. We combined two databases of women belonging to public and private healthcare hospitals. The sample included 572 BC incident cases and 889 controls interviewed with a specific questionnaire featured by socio-demographic, reproductive and lifestyle variables, and a food frequency questionnaire of 64 items, also analyzing 'mate' intake (consumer status, daily intake, age at start, age at quit, duration of habit, intensity of intake). ORs and their 95%CI were calculated through unconditional logistic regression, adjusting for relevant potential confounders. The highest quartile of 'mate' intake was inversely associated with BC risk (OR=0.40, 95%CI 0.26-0.57, p for trend <0.001). Stratified analyses also displayed strong significant inverse associations for 'mate' in frequent tea drinkers (OR=0.22), high energy intake (OR=0.23), high body mass index (OR=0.29) and in postmenopausal women (OR=0.36), among other results. As conclusions, we found evidence of a significant inverse association for 'mate' intake and BC risk.