World Cancer Research Fund International: Continuous Update Project-systematic literature review and meta-analysis of observational cohort studies on physical activity, sedentary behavior, adiposity, and weight change and breast cancer risk.

Research paper by Doris S M DSM Chan, Leila L Abar, Margarita M Cariolou, Neesha N Nanu, Darren C DC Greenwood, Elisa V EV Bandera, Anne A McTiernan, Teresa T Norat

Indexed on: 02 Sep '19Published on: 01 Sep '19Published in: Cancer Causes & Control


The purpose of the present study was to systematically review the complex associations between energy balance-related factors and breast cancer risk, for which previous evidence has suggested different associations in the life course of women and by hormone receptor (HR) status of the tumor. Relevant publications on adulthood physical activity, sedentary behavior, body mass index (BMI), waist and hip circumferences, waist-to-hip ratio, and weight change and pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer risk were identified in PubMed up to 30 April 2017. Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to summarize the relative risks across studies. One hundred and twenty-six observational cohort studies comprising over 22,900 premenopausal and 103,000 postmenopausal breast cancer cases were meta-analyzed. Higher physical activity was inversely associated with both pre- and postmenopausal breast cancers, whereas increased sitting time was positively associated with postmenopausal breast cancer. Although higher early adult BMI (ages 18-30 years) was inversely associated with pre- and postmenopausal breast cancers, adult weight gain and greater body adiposity increased breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women, and the increased risk was evident for HR+ but not HR- breast cancers, and among never but not current users of postmenopausal hormones. The evidence was less consistent in premenopausal women. There were no associations with adult weight gain, inverse associations with adult BMI (study baseline) and hip circumference, and non-significant associations with waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio that were reverted to positive associations on average in studies accounting for BMI. No significant associations were observed for HR-defined premenopausal breast cancers. Better understanding on the impact of these factors on pre- and postmenopausal breast cancers and their subtypes along the life course is needed.

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