Prolonged nightly fasting and breast cancer risk: Findings from NHANES (2009-2010)

Catherine R. Marinac, Loki Natarajan, Dorothy D. Sears, Linda C. Gallo, Sheri J. Hartman, Elva Arredondo, Ruth E. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Background: A novel line of research has emerged, suggesting that daily feeding-fasting schedules that are synchronized with sleep-wake cycles have metabolic implications that are highly relevant to breast cancer. We examined associations of nighttime fasting duration with biomarkers of breast cancer risk among women in the 2009-2010 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Methods: Dietary, anthropometric, and HbA1c data were available for 2,212 women, and 2-hour postprandial glucose concentrations were available for 1,066 women. Nighttime fasting duration was calculated using 24-hour food records. Separate linear regression models examined associations of nighttime fasting with HbA1c and 2-hour glucose concentrations. Logistic regression modeled associations of nighttime fasting with elevated HbA1c (HbA1c ≥ 39 mmol/mol or 5.7%) and elevated 2-hour glucose (glucose ≥ 140 mg/dL). All models adjusted for age, education, race/ethnicity, body mass index, total kcal intake, evening kcal intake, and the number of eating episodes per day. Results: Each 3-hour increase in nighttime fasting (roughly 1 SD) was associated with a 4% lower 2-hour glucose measurement [βS, 0.96; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.93-1.00; P< 0.05], and a nonstatistically significant decrease in HbA1c. Logistic regression models indicate that each 3-hour increase in nighttime fasting duration was associated with roughly a 20% reduced odds of elevated HbA1c (OR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.68-0.97; P < 0.05) and nonsignificantly reduced odds of elevated 2-hour glucose. Conclusions: A longer nighttime duration was significantly associated with improved glycemic regulation. Impact: Randomized trials are needed to confirm whether prolonged nighttime fasting could improve biomarkers of glucose control, thereby reducing breast cancer risk..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-789
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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