High starch intake could increase the risk for breast cancer recurrence, say researchers, in a paper presented at the CTRC-AAC San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. According to the study conducted on 2,651 survivors of breast cancer, women who increased their starch intake over a year faced much likelier risks of cancer recurrence.

The results show that it's not just overall carbohydrates, but particularly starch, said Jennifer A. Emond, M.S., a public health doctoral student at the University of California, San Diego, while presenting the research paper titled Change in Carbohydrate Intake and Breast Cancer Prognosis.

The researchers studied and followed the participants for an average of seven years. They analyzed how changes in carbohydrate intake influenced breast cancer recurrence. At base line, the carbohydrate intake was 233 grams per day. Results showed that women whose cancer recurred had a mean increase in carbohydrate intake of 2.3 grams per day, while those whose cancer did not recur had a decrease of 2.7 grams per day during the first year.

Starches were a key factor and changes in starch intake accounted for 48 percent of the change in carbohydrate intake.

When changes in starch intake, during a year, were grouped into quartiles of change, the rate of an additional breast cancer event was 9.7 percent among women who decreased their starch intake the most during that one year, compared with an event rate of 14.2 percent among women who increased their starch intake the most during the same period, Emond explained.

The researcher said the results indicated a need for more research on the dietary recommendations for women with breast cancer, particualrly regarding the intake of starch.