Adiponectin and breast cancer risk

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Mar;89(3):1102-7. doi: 10.1210/jc.2003-031804.


Adiponectin, an adipocyte-secreted hormone, is closely and inversely associated with insulin resistance and was recently found to be inversely and independently associated with endometrial cancer. Because insulin resistance in the setting of obesity has also been associated with the development of breast cancer, we have hypothesized that decreased adiponectin levels might underlie the association between breast cancer and obesity/insulin resistance. We evaluated the association of adiponectin with the occurrence of breast cancer in a case-control study comprising 174 women with newly diagnosed, histologically confirmed breast cancer and 167 controls. We found an inverse, fairly strong, and statistically significant association of serum adiponectin with breast cancer (odds ratio, 0.84; 95% confidence interval, 0.71-0.99). Importantly, despite a fairly robust inverse association of adiponectin with breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women (odds ratio, 0.82; 95% confidence interval, 0.67-1.00), no such significant association between adiponectin and breast cancer was found among premenopausal women. The observed associations were independent of possible effects of major components of the IGF system, leptin, body mass index, sociodemographic variables, and known risk factors for breast cancer. Future studies are needed to prove causality and provide further insights into both the mechanisms underlying the actions of this hormone and its potential role in breast cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins*
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause
  • Premenopause
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Risk Factors


  • Adiponectin
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Proteins