Suprathreshold taste perception and nutrient intake were assessed for two groups of women aged 44 to 56 years: 24 mastectomized breast cancer outpatients and 24 matched controls. Salty and sweet taste intensity and pleasantness were evaluated in aqueous solutions and simple foods by unstructured line scaling. Dietary intakes were assessed by combined dietary recall (1 day) and food record (3 days). Suprathreshold taste intensity and pleasantness data did not differ between the breast cancer and control groups. Breast cancer subjects consumed less energy and were at greater overall nutritional risk than the controls. Compared with control subjects, breast cancer subjects were at greater risk of calcium and iron deficiency. Regression analysis was used to investigate relationships between diet and taste for a breast cancer subgroup (n = 7) with unusually low energy intake (< or = 1,300 kcal/day) and a high overall nutritional risk (25.6%). For the subgroup, significant relationships between taste and diet were found, although taste data did not differ from that of the controls. Percent risks of nutrient deficiency for vitamin B-12, thiamin, folacin, iron, and riboflavin were important predictors of taste-intensity slopes for the cancer subgroup. Findings suggest that for some of the breast cancer subjects, diet may be associated with unsatisfactory nutritional status and may be affected by suprathreshold taste perception.