Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Weight change and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer (United States)
Trentham-Dietz, A., Newcomb, P. A., Egan, K. M., Titus-Ernstoff, L., Baron, J. A., Storer, B. E., Stampfer, M., Willett, W. C. Cancer Causes & Control. 2000. 11:6, 533-42.
Topic area
Body size
Study design
Population based case-control
Study Participants
Number of Cases
Cases: 5,031 (invasive only)
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Post menopausal
Number of Controls
Controls: 5255
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Inclusion: Residents of Wisconsin, Massachusetts or New Hampshire, aged 50-79 years at baseline, and diagnosed with invasive breast cancer from January 1992 to December 1994 (cases) Exclusion: Potential participants age 50-64 who did not have a driver's license, potential participants age 65-74 who were not enrolled in the Medicare program, previous diagnosis of breast cancer, and missing information on height at age 20 or reference weight
Comment about participation selection
Strengths: High participation rate, population based study and large number of cases Limitations: Self-reported anthropometric data and study was not population based
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Height at age 20, BMI, recent weight, weight at age 20
How exposure was measured
Questionnaire, by telephone
Exposure assessment comment
Anthropometric data 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: height, weight, parity, age of first full term pregnancy, family history of breast cancer, alcohol consumption, education, age at menopause, highest and lowest weight, state of diagnosis and age
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 Years of diagnosis: 1/1992 to 12/1994
Strength of associations reported
Association between postmenopausal breast cancer and height at age 20, >1.68 m vs. <1.56 m, OR=1.3(1.1-1.5) trend p<0.001
Association between postmenopausal breast cancer and BMI, >29.45 vs. <21.94, OR=1.6(1.4-1.9) trend p<0.001
Association between postmenopausal breast cancer and weight, >78.93 kg vs. <57.14 kg, OR=1.8(1.5-2.0) trend p<0.001
Association between postmenopausal breast cancer and women who had a large weight gain since their lowest adult weight, >25 kg vs. <5 kg OR=1.7(1.5-2.0) trend p<0.001
Author address
University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, Madison, USA.