Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Premorbid body weight and its relations to primary tumour diameter in breast cancer patients; its dependence on estrogen and progesteron receptor status
Maehle, B. O., Tretli, S., Skjaerven, R., Thorsen, T. Breast Cancer Research & Treatment. 2001. 68:2, 159-69.
Topic area
Body size
Study design
Prospective cohort
Funding agency
Not reported
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number in Cohort
Cohort: 1241 breast cancer cases
Cohort participation rate
Retention/participation exceeded 70% for exposed a
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
In: women with unilateral breast cancer treated with modified radical mastectomy living in the geographic area of Haukeland Hospital; women whose height and weight were measured between 1963 and 1975 in a nationwide tuberculosis screening program by the National Mass Radiography Service (NMRS) before breast cancer diagnosis; women age 26-69 years during the NMRS; women whose breast cancer specimens were received between 1/1970 and 1/1990;
Comment about participation selection
Strengths: anthropometric data were obtained by trained staff; diagnosis of breast cancer was histologically confirmed; tumor diameter and lymph node status was present in all patients; ER alpha and PgR status were obtained for nearly half of the participants; one of the few studies to record anthropometric measurements years before the women presented with breast cancer (12.5 mean); main findings confirmed by previous studies Limitations: analysis based on linear regression and correlation between body size and tumor size stratified by receptor status; study does not take account for other breast cancer risk factors in analysis
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Weight and BMI
How exposure was measured
Anthropometric measurement, researcher-administered at a nationwide screening
Breast cancer outcome investigated
Other: Primary tumor diameter
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, none
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Results Comments
Body weight and Quetlet's index (BMI) were significantly related to tumor diameter in older patients with hormone receptor negative tumors.
Author address
The Gade Institute, Department of Pathology, Oslo, Norway.