The association between metabolic health, obesity phenotype and the risk of breast cancer.

Research paper by Yong-Moon Mark YM Park, Alexandra J AJ White, Hazel B HB Nichols, Katie M KM O'Brien, Clarice R CR Weinberg, Dale P DP Sandler

Indexed on: 08 Mar '17Published on: 08 Mar '17Published in: International Journal of Cancer


Beyond the current emphasis on body mass index (BMI), it is unknown whether breast cancer risk differs between metabolically healthy and unhealthy normal weight or overweight/obese women. The Sister Study is a nationwide prospective cohort study. Data came from 50,884 cohort participants aged 35 to 74 years enrolled from 2003 through 2009. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate multivariable adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for breast cancer risk. Metabolic abnormalities considered included: high waist circumference (≥88 cm); elevated blood pressure (≥130/85 mm Hg or antihypertensive medication); previously diagnosed diabetes or antidiabetic drug treatment; and cholesterol-lowering medication use. During follow-up (mean, 6.4 years), 1,388 invasive breast cancers were diagnosed at least 1 year after enrollment. Compared to women with BMI <25 kg/m(2) with no metabolic abnormalities (metabolically healthy normal weight phenotype), women with a BMI <25 kg/m(2) and ≥1 metabolic abnormality (metabolically unhealthy, normal weight phenotype) had increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer (HR=1.26, 95% CI:1.01-1.56), as did women with a BMI ≥25 kg/m(2) and no metabolic abnormalities (metabolically healthy overweight/obese phenotype) (HR=1.24, 95% CI:0.99-1.55). Furthermore, risk of postmenopausal breast cancer was consistently elevated in women with normal BMI and central obesity (normal weight central obesity phenotype) regardless of the criterion used to define central obesity, with HR for waist circumference ≥88 cm, waist circumference ≥80 cm, and waist-hip ratio ≥0.85 of 1.58, 95% CI:1.02-2.46; 1.38, 95% CI:1.09-1.75; and 1.38, 95% CI:1.02-1.85, respectively. There was an inverse association between premenopausal breast cancer and metabolically healthy overweight/obese phenotype (HR=0.71, 95% CI:0.52-0.97). Our findings suggest that postmenopausal women who are metabolically unhealthy or have central adiposity may be at increased risk for breast cancer despite normal BMI. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.