The effects of conjugated linoleic acids on breast cancer: A systematic review


1 Department of Community Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food Science, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan; Food Security Research Center, School of Nutrition and Food Science, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

2 Cancer Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Recently prevention strategies for breast cancer are focused on lifestyle modification such as diet. Some dietary factors such as Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) can lower the risk of breast cancer, metastasis and some factors concerning this malignancy. Many studies have been established in this field, but their results are inconsistent. Therefore, we evaluated this association based on systematic review among published scientific literature. We performed an electronic search using PubMed, Cochrane, Scopus, Google Scholar and Persian database (Iran Medex, magiran) to identify relevant studies. We summarized the findings of 8 papers in this review. Although, three cohort studies were not overall identified a protective effect of CLA dietary intake or CLA content in breast tissue on breast cancer incidence, metastasis and death, one of them showed an inverse association after adjusting for age. Also, among case-control studies a weak inverse association between breast cancer risk and CLA dietary intake and serum levels among post-menopausal women was reported. Besides, a clinical trial showed that some indicator of breast tumor decreased after CLA administration among women with breast adenocarcinoma. Lacking published evidence suggested inconsistent results. So, further well-designed studies are required, particularly in considering the main breast cancer risk factors.


Friedman EB, Chun J, Schnabel F, Schwartz S, Law S, Billig J, et al. Screening prior to Breast Cancer Diagnosis: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same. Int J Breast Cancer 2013;2013:327567.  Back to cited text no. 1
Xie Q, Chen ML, Qin Y, Zhang QY, Xu HX, Zhou Y, et al. Isoflavone consumption and risk of breast cancer: A dose-response meta-analysis of observational studies. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2013;22:118-27.  Back to cited text no. 2
Farsinejad-Marj M, Talebi S, Ghiyasvand R, Miraghajani M. Adherence to Mediterranean diet and risk of breast cancer in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Arch Iran Med 2015;18:786-92.  Back to cited text no. 3
Golpour S, Rafie N, Safavi SM, Miraghajani M. Dietary isoflavones and gastric cancer: A brief review of current studies. J Res Med Sci 2015;20:893-900.  Back to cited text no. 4
  Medknow Journal  
Jolfaie NR, Mirzaie S, Ghiasvand R, Askari G, Miraghajani M. The effect of glutamine intake on complications of colorectal and colon cancer treatment: A systematic review. J Res Med Sci 2015;20:910-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
  Medknow Journal  
Rafie N, Golpour Hamedani S, Ghiasvand R, Miraghajani M. Kefir and Cancer: A Systematic Review of Literatures. Arch Iran Med 2015;18:852-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
Zheng JS, Hu XJ, Zhao YM, Yang J, Li D. Intake of fi sh and marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of breast cancer: Meta-analysis of data from 21 independent prospective cohort studies. BMJ 2013;346:f3706.  Back to cited text no. 7
Voorrips LE, Brants HA, Kardinaal AF, Hiddink GJ, van den Brandt PA, Goldbohm RA. Intake of conjugated linoleic acid, fat, and other fatty acids in relation to postmenopausal breast cancer: The Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76:873-82.  Back to cited text no. 8
Aro A, Mannisto S, Salminen I, Ovaskainen ML, Kataja V, Uusitupa M. Inverse association between dietary and serum conjugated linoleic acid and risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Nutr Cancer 2000;38:151-7.  Back to cited text no. 9
Chajes V, Lavillonniere F, Ferrari P, Jourdan ML, Pinault M, Maillard V, et al. Conjugated linoleic acid content in breast adipose tissue is not associated with the relative risk of breast cancer in a population of French patients. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2002;11:672-3.  Back to cited text no. 10
Chajes V, Lavillonniere F, Maillard V, Giraudeau B, Jourdan ML, Sebedio JL, et al. Conjugated linoleic acid content in breast adipose tissue of breast cancer patients and the risk of metastasis. Nutr Cancer 2003;45:17-23.  Back to cited text no. 11
Kelley NS, Hubbard NE, Erickson KL. Conjugated linoleic acid isomers and cancer. J Nutr 2007;137:2599-607.   Back to cited text no. 12
Larsson SC, Bergkvist L, Wolk A. Conjugated linoleic acid intake and breast cancer risk in a prospective cohort of Swedish women. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;90:556-60.  Back to cited text no. 13
McGowan MM, Eisenberg BL, Lewis LD, Froehlich HM, Wells WA, Eastman A, et al. A proof of principle clinical trial to determine whether conjugated linoleic acid modulates the lipogenic pathway in human breast cancer tissue. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2013;138:175-83.  Back to cited text no. 14
McCann SE, Ip C, Ip MM, Mc Guire MK, Muti P, Edge SB, et al. Dietary intake of conjugated linoleic acids and risk of premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer, Western NewYork Exposures and Breast Cancer Study (WEBStudy). Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2004;13:1480-4.  Back to cited text no. 15
Wei G, Liang J, Chen B, Zhou C, Ru N, Chen J, et al. Comparison of transforaminal verse interlaminar epidural steroid injection in low back pain with lumbosacral radicular pain: A meta-analysis of the literature. Int Orthop 2016. [Epub ahead of print].  Back to cited text no. 16
Bonanno A, Tornambè G, Bellina V, De Pasquale C, Mazza F, Maniaci G, et al. Effect of farming system and cheesemaking technology on the physicochemical characteristics, fatty acid profile, and sensory properties of Caciocavallo Palermitano cheese. J Dairy Sci 2013;96:710-24.  Back to cited text no. 17
Chin SF, Liu W, Storkson JM, Ha YL, Pariza MW. Dietary sources of conjugated dienoic isomers of linoleic acid, a newly recognized class of anticarcinogens. J Food Compost Anal 1992;5:185-97.  Back to cited text no. 18
Kuemmerle NB, Rysman E, Lombardo PS, Flanagan AJ, Lipe BC, Wells WA, et al. Lipoprotein lipase links dietary fat to solid tumor cell proliferation. Mol Cancer Ther 2011;10:427-36.  Back to cited text no. 19
Kinlaw WB, Quinn JL, Wells WA, Roser-Jones C, Moncur JT. Spot 14: A marker of aggressive breast cancer and a potential therapeutic target. Endocrinology 2006;147:4048-55.  Back to cited text no. 20
Ip C, Singh M, Thompson HJ, Scimeca JA. Conjugated linoleic acid suppresses mammary carcinogenesis and proliferative activity of the mammary gland in the rat. Cancer Res 1994;54:1212-5.  Back to cited text no. 21
Pierce JP, Natarajan L, Caan BJ, Parker BA, Greenberg ER, Flatt SW, et al. In fluence of a diet very high in vegetables, fruit, and fiber and low in fat on prognosis following treatment for breast cancer: The Women′s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) randomized trial. JAMA 2007;298:289-98.  Back to cited text no. 22
Dong JY, Zhang L, He K, Qin LQ. Dairy consumption and risk of breast cancer: A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2011;127:23-31.  Back to cited text no. 23
Missmer SA, Smith-Warner SA, Spiegelman D, Yaun SS, Adami HO, Beeson WL, et al. Meat and dairy food consumption and breast cancer: A pooled analysis of cohort studies. Int J Epidemiol 2002;31:78-85.  Back to cited text no. 24
Durgam VR, Fernandes G. The growth inhibitory effect of conjugated linoleic acid on MCF-7 cells is related to estrogen response system. Cancer Lett 1997;116:121-30  Back to cited text no. 25
Yue W, Wang JP, Li Y, Bocchinfuso WP, Korach KS, Devanesan PD, et al. Tamoxifen versus aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer prevention. Clin Cancer Res 2005;11(2Pt2):925s-30.  Back to cited text no. 26
Wang LS, Huang YW, Liu S, Yan P, Lin YC. Conjugated linoleic acid induces apoptosis through estrogen receptor alpha in human breast tissue. BMC Cancer 2008;8:208.  Back to cited text no. 27
Song HJ, Sneddon AA, Heys SD, Wahle KW. Regulation of fatty acid synthase (FAS) and apoptosis in estrogen-receptor positive and negative breast cancer cells by conjugated linoleic acids. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2012;87:197-203.  Back to cited text no. 28
Zhou W, Simpson PJ, McFadden JM, Townsend CA, Medghalchi SM, Vadlamudi A, et al. Fatty acid synthase inhibition triggers apoptosis during S phase in human cancer cells. Cancer Res 2003;63:7330-7.  Back to cited text no. 29
Donnelly C, Olsen AM, Lewis LD, Eisenberg BL, Eastman A, Kinlaw WB. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) inhibits expression of the S pot 14 (THRSP) and fatty acid synthase genes and impairs the growth of human breast cancer and liposarcoma cells. Nutr Cancer 2009;61:114-22.  Back to cited text no. 30
El Roz A, Bard JM, Huvelin JM, Nazih H. The anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of the trans9, trans11 conjugated linoleic acid isomer on MCF-7 breast cancer cells are associated with LXR activation. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2013;88:265-72.  Back to cited text no. 31
Huot PS, Sarkar B, Ma DW. Conjugated linoleic acid alters caveolae phospholipid fatty acid composition and decreases caveolin-1 expression in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Nutr Res 2010;30:179-85.  Back to cited text no. 32
Choi Y, Park Y, Storkson JM, Pariza MW, Ntambi JM. Inhibition of stearoyl-CoA desaturase activity by the cis-9, trans-11 isomer and the trans-10, cis-12 isomer of conjugated linoleic acid in MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2002;294:785-90.  Back to cited text no. 33