Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Weight at birth and adolescence and premenopausal breast cancer risk in a low-risk population
Sanderson, M., Shu, X. O., Jin, F., Dai, Q., Ruan, Z., Gao, Y. T., Zheng, W. Br J Cancer. 2002. 86:1, 84-8.
Topic area
Early life exposures - Body size
Study design
Population based case-control
Funding agency
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Number of Controls
Controls: 350
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
In: cases: Shanghai breast cancer study, women aged 25-64 years who were permanent residents of urban Shangai at the time of diagnosis of first primary invasive breast cancer and who had a biological and alive mother residing in Shanghai In: controls: Randomly selected from the Shanghai Resident registry, matched on age and who had a biological and alive mother residing in Shanghai. Ex: women who did not reside at the registered address at the time of the study or who were postmenopausal
Comment about participation selection
Strengths: diagnoses were histologically confirmed by two senior pathologists; conducted in-person interviews; high participation rate; analyzed association between breast cancer and perceptions of adolescent body size stratifying results by birth weight; population based study; adjusted for known breast cancer risks Limitations: anthropometric values were obtained through self-reports and through their biological mothers; small number of cases after stratification; only a subgroup of the premenopausal women from the SBCS were analyzed
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Birthweight, recalled height and weight at 15 years
How exposure was measured
Questionnaire, in person of participants and their biological mothers Anthropometric measurement, self-administered
Exposure assessment comment
Misclassification: Mother's report of birthweight long after the birth
Statistical Analysis
Breast cancer outcome investigated
Primary incident breast cancer
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
Asian women
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: age, income, family history of breast cancer in first degree relative, history of fibroadenoma, age at menarche, parity and age at first live birth, perceived height and perceived weight, BMI, alcohol consumption
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
Logistic regression model adjusted for age, income, family history, history of fibroadenoma, age at menarche, parity and age at first birth. Adjusted OR with 95% CI, follow-up 1996- through 1998, Effect modifiers: birth weight
Strength of associations reported
Association between breast cancer and birth weight, >=4000g versus 2500-2999g, OR= 0.7 (0.4-1.4)
Association between breast cancer and women whose mothers perceived them to be shorter than average at age 15, OR=2.1(1.3-3.5)
Women whose birth weight was 3500g or more and who perceived themselves to be of low or average adolescent weight and low or average adolescent height were at a reduced risk of breast cancer, OR=0.4(0.2-0.8)
Results Comments
No association between high birth weight and premenopausal breast cancer, No other significant associations between breast cancer and height or weight
Author address
University of Texas School of Public Health at Brownsville, 78520, USA. msanderson@utb.edu
Controls participation rate
Greater than 70% (81.8%)