Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Body mass index and post-menopausal breast cancer: an age-specific analysis
La Vecchia, C., Negri, E., Franceschi, S., Talamini, R., Bruzzi, P., Palli, D., Decarli, A. British Journal of Cancer. 1997. 75:3, 441-4.
Topic area
Body size
Study design
Pooled analysis of three hospital based case-control studies
Funding agency
Other: Applied Projects Clinical Applications of O
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Post menopausal
Number of Controls
Control: 2,664
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
In: women who visited a hospital in Italy between 1980 and 1991; postmenopausal; age 50 or greater Ex: women who were admitted into the hospital for reasons related to diet, nutrition or other breast cancer risk factors
Comment about participation selection
Strengths: large study with many cases; the great majority of cases were histologically confirmed; one of the first studies to analyze postmenopausal breast cancer risk by BMI stratified by age Limitations: pooled hospital based case-control study; not a population based study; participants were obtained from many different hospitals; anthropometric data were self-reported; did not report the participation rate; did not report whether breast cancer risk data were obtained through in-person interviews or through self-reported questionnaires
Exposure Investigated
Exposure assessment comment
Anthropometric data were self-reported
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
Confounders considered
Other breast cancer risk factors, such as family history, age at first birth, and hormone replacement therapy use, that were taken into account in the study.
Adequately controlled, confounders: study center, age, age at menarche, parity, age at first birth, age at menopause
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Description of major analysis
Effect modifiers: age
Strength of associations reported
Association between postmenopausal breast cancer risk and BMI, >28.4 vs <21.8, OR=1.40(1.2-1.7) trend p<0.001
Association between postmenopausal breast cancer risk and an 8 unit increase in BMI (continuous), OR=1.23(1.1-1.4) trend p<0.001
Association between postmenopausal breast cancer risk and BMI in women above 70 years of age, OR=2.14(1.4-3.2) trend p<0.001
Association between postmenopausal breast cancer risk and BMI in women between 50 and 59 years of age, OR=1.30(1.0-1.7) trend p=0.05