Central adiposity and subsequent risk of breast cancer by menopause status.

Research paper by Serena C SC Houghton, Heather H Eliassen, Rulla M RM Tamimi, Walter C WC Willett, Bernard A BA Rosner, Susan E SE Hankinson

Indexed on: 31 Dec '20Published on: 29 Dec '20Published in: Journal of the National Cancer Institute


Increased body mass index (BMI) is associated with higher postmenopausal breast cancer risk and lower premenopausal breast cancer risk. Less is known about the central adiposity-breast cancer risk association, particularly for tumor subtypes. We used prospective waist (WC) and hip circumference (HC) measures in the Nurses' Health Studies. We examined associations of WC, HC and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) with breast cancer independent of BMI, by menopausal status. Cox proportional hazards models estimated the hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusting for breast cancer risk factors, with and without BMI. Adjusting for BMI, WC, and HC were not associated and WHR was positively associated with premenopausal breast cancer risk (WHR, quintile 5 vs. 1: HRQ5vQ1, BMI-adjusted=1.27, 95%CI = 1.04-1.54, p-trend = 0.01); particularly for, estrogen receptor-negative (ER-)/ progesterone receptor-negative (PR-) and basal-like breast cancers. Premenopausal WC, HC, and WHR were not associated with postmenopausal breast cancer risk, with or without BMI adjustment. Postmenopausal WC, HC, and WHR were each positively associated with postmenopausal breast cancer (eg, WC HRQ5vsQ1=1.59, 95%CI = 1.36-1.86); after adjustment for BMI, only WC remained statistically significant (HRQ5vsQ1, BMI-adjusted=1.38, 95%CI = 1.15-1.64, p-trend = 0.002). In postmenopausal women, associations were stronger among never users of hormone therapy and for ER+/PR+ breast cancers. Central adiposity was positively associated with pre- and postmenopausal breast cancers independent of BMI. This suggests that mechanisms other than estrogen may also play a role in the relationship between central adiposity and breast cancer. Maintaining a healthy waist circumference may decrease pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer risk. © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.