Association of menstrual and reproductive factors with breast cancer risk: results from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study

Int J Cancer. 2000 Jul 15;87(2):295-300. doi: 10.1002/1097-0215(20000715)87:2<295::aid-ijc23>;2-7.


The incidence of breast cancer among women in Shanghai, a traditionally low-risk population, has increased substantially over the past 20 years. To evaluate the association of menstrual and reproductive factors with breast cancer risk and the influence of these factors on the temporal trend of breast cancer incidence, we analyzed data from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study, a population-based case-control study of breast cancer recently completed among Chinese women in urban Shanghai. In-person interviews were completed for 1,459 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer between ages 25 and 64 and for 1,556 controls frequency-matched to cases by age. Unconditional logistic regression was employed to estimate adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) related to menstrual and reproductive factors. Earlier menarcheal age, nulliparity, and later age at first live birth were associated with increased risk of breast cancer among both pre- and post-menopausal women, while never having breast-fed and later age at menopause were associated with elevated risk only among post-menopausal women. Among controls, 32% of younger women (</=40 years) and 24% of older women (>40 years) reported starting menarche at age of 13 or younger, and this factor contributed to 44% of cases diagnosed among younger women and 26% to 28% of cases in older women. Older age at first live birth or at menopause explained a considerable portion of cases diagnosed in older, but not younger, women. Our study suggests that the changes in menstrual and reproductive patterns among women in Shanghai have contributed to the recent increase in breast cancer incidence, particularly among younger women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Menarche*
  • Menopause*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parity*
  • Risk Factors