Preserved food such as cured foods may contain nitrate and nitrite that may contribute to the breast cancer development. Evidence on the associations between these preserved food intakes and risk of breast cancer is sparse. This study aimed to examine the associations between preserved foods (i.e. cured meat, pickled vegetables, canned meat, canned fruit/vegetables) and breast cancer risk in Hong Kong Chinese women. A total of 1307 breast cancer cases and 1050 age-matched controls were recruited from three hospitals during 11/2011-01/2018. We used a standardized questionnaire to collect information on dietary factors including preserved foods. Unconditional multiple logistic regression was performed to calculate the adjusted odds ratio(AOR) of breast cancer in relation to preserved food with adjustment of potential confounders. We further performed stratified analysis according to the breast cancer biology subtypes. We found that cured meat consumption was significantly associated with the risk of breast cancer [AOR=1.32, 95% confidence interval 95%CI)=1.06-1.64]. Compared to no cured meat consumption, cured meat intake {greater than or equal to} once per week was associated with an AOR of 2.66 (95%CI=1.38-5.35). Women with canned fruit/vegetable {greater than or equal to} consumption once per week had a higher risk of breast cancer (OR=1.19, 95%CI=1.00-1.41), particularly for the HER2-positive subtypes, but it became borderline after adjustment of confounders. Our study reveals a positive association between consumption of cured meat and breast cancer risk in Chinese population. Cured meat intake might be a potential novel risk factor for breast cancer but this would have to be confirmed by large prospective cohort studies.

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