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      Associations between body mass index and molecular subtypes as well as other clinical characteristics of breast cancer in Chinese women

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          Several studies have shown a positive association between body mass index (BMI) and the development of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women; however, the associations between BMI groups and molecular subtypes have yet to be well defined in premenopausal breast cancer patients.


          A total of 2465 female breast cancer patients diagnosed at our institution were recruited for this study. Clinicopathologic information (including age, body height and weight, as well as tumor subtypes and stages) was collected; analyses of these characteristics and the associations between them were performed.


          A total of 1951 cases were included in the study. The mean age was 47.3 years, the majority of patients were of normal weight, premenopausal, had stage 2 cancer, and did not present with positive nodes. The prevalence of the luminal A, luminal B, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2+, and triple-negative subtypes were 57.8%, 11.6%, 6.1%, and 24.5%, respectively. There were significant differences in the clinicopathologic features among BMI groups in premenopausal patients. The case-only odds ratio (OR) analysis revealed that normal weight patients tended to have luminal B cancer (OR = 1.4, P = 0.206), and overweight and obese patients tended to have triple-negative cancer in premenopausal patients (OR = 2.8, OR = 3.7, respectively; P < 0.001).


          In Chinese women, breast cancer came with these characteristics: young mean age (premenopause), luminal A subtype, and the majority of them were within a normal weight range. In premenopausal patients, underweight patients tended to have luminal A, lower human epidermal growth factor receptor 2+ expression, stage 1 and no positive node cancer. However, overweight and obese patients tended to have a triple-negative, stage 3, and lymph node metastatic cancer.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Pooled analysis of prospective cohort studies on height, weight, and breast cancer risk.

          The association between anthropometric indices and the risk of breast cancer was analyzed using pooled data from seven prospective cohort studies. Together, these cohorts comprise 337,819 women and 4,385 incident invasive breast cancer cases. In multivariate analyses controlling for reproductive, dietary, and other risk factors, the pooled relative risk (RR) of breast cancer per height increment of 5 cm was 1.02 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.96, 1.10) in premenopausal women and 1.07 (95% CI: 1.03, 1.12) in postmenopausal women. Body mass index (BMI) showed significant inverse and positive associations with breast cancer among pre- and postmenopausal women, respectively; these associations were nonlinear. Compared with premenopausal women with a BMI of less than 21 kg/m2, women with a BMI exceeding 31 kg/m2 had an RR of 0.54 (95% CI: 0.34, 0.85). In postmenopausal women, the RRs did not increase further when BMI exceeded 28 kg/m2; the RR for these women was 1.26 (95% CI: 1.09, 1.46). The authors found little evidence for interaction with other breast cancer risk factors. Their data indicate that height is an independent risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer; in premenopausal women, this relation is less clear. The association between BMI and breast cancer varies by menopausal status. Weight control may reduce the risk among postmenopausal women.
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            Ethnicity and breast cancer: factors influencing differences in incidence and outcome.

            The lower breast cancer incidence in minority women and the higher breast cancer mortality in African American women than in white women are largely unexplained. The influence of breast cancer risk factors on these differences has received little attention. Racial/ethnic differences in breast cancer incidence and outcome were examined in 156,570 postmenopausal women participating in the Women's Health Initiative. Detailed information on breast cancer risk factors including mammography was collected, and participants were followed prospectively for breast cancer incidence, pathological breast cancer characteristics, and breast cancer mortality. Comparisons of breast cancer incidence and mortality across racial/ethnic groups were estimated as hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) from Cox proportional hazard models. Tumor characteristics were compared as odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals in logistic regression models. After median follow-up of 6.3 years, 3938 breast cancers were diagnosed. Age-adjusted incidences for all minority groups (i.e., African American, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Asian/Pacific Islander) were lower than for white women, but adjustment for breast cancer risk factors accounted for the differences for all but African Americans (HR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.61 to 0.92) corresponding to 29 cases and 44 cases per 10,000 person years for African American and white women, respectively. Breast cancers in African American women had unfavorable characteristics; 32% of those in African Americans but only 10% in whites were both high grade and estrogen receptor negative (adjusted OR = 4.70, 95% CI = 3.12 to 7.09). Moreover, after adjustment for prognostic factors, African American women had higher mortality after breast cancer than white women (HR = 1.79, 95% CI = 1.05 to 3.05) corresponding to nine and six deaths per 10 000 person-years from diagnosis in African American and white women, respectively. Differences in breast cancer incidence rates between most racial/ethnic groups were largely explained by risk factor distribution except in African Americans. However, breast cancers in African American women more commonly had characteristics of poor prognosis, which may contribute to their increased mortality after diagnosis.
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              Obesity, body size, and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer: the Women's Health Initiative (United States).

              Body size is an important modifiable risk factor for breast cancer. Although obesity has generally been found to be associated with increased risk for postmenopausal breast cancer, there remain questions concerning the role of body fat distribution, lifetime weight history, and effects within specific subgroups of women. We assessed the relationship of several anthropometric measures and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in 85,917 women aged 50-79 at entry in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. Women were enrolled during 1993-1998 at 40 clinics in the US and 1030 developed invasive breast cancer by April 2000. Upon entry, trained clinical center staff measured each woman's height, weight, and waist and hip circumference. Anthropometric factors were not associated with breast cancer among women who had ever used hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Among HRT non-users, heavier women (baseline body mass index (BMI) >31.1) had an elevated risk of postmenopausal breast cancer (relative risk (RR) = 2.52; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.62-3.93), compared to slimmer women (baseline BMI < 22.6). The elevation in risk associated with increasing BMI appeared to be most pronounced among younger postmenopausal women. Change in BMI since age 18, maximum BMI, and weight were also associated with breast cancer in HRT non-users. While both waist and hip circumference were associated with breast cancer risk, their ratio, a measure of fat distribution, was not (RR = 1.33; 95% CI = 0.88-2.01). Our study confirms previously reported findings that generalized obesity is an important risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer, but only among women who have never taken HRT. Lifetime weight gain is also a strong predictor of breast cancer. Waist to hip ratio, a measure of weight distribution, does not appear to be related to postmenopausal breast cancer risk.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                26 March 2013
                : 9
                : 131-137
                Department of Breast Surgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha City, Hunan Province, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Li-Li Tang, Department of Breast Surgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, No 87 Xiangya Road, Changsha City, Hunan Province, 410008, People’s Republic of China, Tel/Fax +86 371 8975 3516, Email tang_breast@ 123456yahoo.cn
                © 2013 Chen et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Original Research


                breast cancer, body mass index, molecular subtype, chinese


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