A new study has reported that higher levels of enterolactone are associated with reduced mortality among postmenopausal breast cancer patients. Enterolactone is a phytoestrogen metabolite of plant lignans derived from a variety of foods such as seeds, whole grain products, and some fruits and vegetables. While previous laboratory and population studies have suggested that enterolactone influences biological mechanisms that may retard breast cancer development, this is the first study to evaluate whether levels of enterolactone are linked to mortality among breast cancer patients.

The study included 24,697 postmenopausal women enrolled in a Danish population study between 1993 and 1997. A total of 424 of the women developed breast cancer before year-end 2000. Enterolactone levels were measured in baseline blood samples taken before diagnosis and related to risk of death.

During a median period of 10 years after breast cancer diagnosis, 111 of the 424 women died (80 from breast cancer). Women with enterolactone levels above the median were found to have a 53% lower risk of death from any cause and a 44% lower risk of death from breast cancer than women below the median. The authors conclude that higher prediagnostic plasma levels of enterolactone are related to lower mortality among breast cancer patients.

Please see our article on how to optimize your breast cancer diet for information on what to eat during all stages of treatment and recovery.