Background: Although a large body of research exists concerning pathologic prognostic indicators of the rate of incidence and survival from breast carcinoma, to the authors' knowledge very few studies have examined the effects of anthropometric variables such as height, obesity, weight gain in adulthood, timing of weight gain, and body composition to survival, although these variables are related to the incidence rate.
Methods: The survival status of 166 patients diagnosed with primary breast carcinoma and followed for at least 10 years was obtained from the Cancer Center's registry, and significant anthropometric and other known prognostic indicators regarding survival after diagnosis were determined by Cox proportional hazards analysis.
Results: Eighty-three of 166 breast carcinoma patients (50%) with up to 10 years of follow-up died of disease. Android body fat distribution, as indicated by a higher suprailiac:thigh ratio, was a statistically significant (P < 0.0001) prognostic indicator for survival after controlling for stage of disease, with a hazards ratio of 2.6 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.63-4.17). Adult weight gain, as indicated specifically by weight at age 30 years, was a statistically significant (P < 0.05) prognostic indicator for survival with a hazards ratio of 1.15 (95% CI, 1.0-1.28). In addition, the authors observed the Quatelet Index, a negatively significant (P < 0.01) prognostic indicator for survival with a hazards ratio of 0.92 (95% CI, 0.87-0.98). Other markers of general obesity such as weight at diagnosis, percent body fat, and body surface area were not significant markers influencing survival. Similarly, height; triceps, biceps; subscapular, suprailiac, abdominal, and thigh skinfolds; waist and hip circumferences; family history; and reproductive and hormonal variables at the time of diagnosis showed no apparent significant relation to survival.
Conclusions: The results of the current study provide some evidence that android body fat distribution at diagnosis and increased weight at age 30 years increases a woman's risk of dying of breast carcinoma.
Copyright 2000 American Cancer Society.