Introduction: Obesity is associated with risk of breast cancer after menopause. Circulating levels of leptin are high in obesity and leptin stimulates growth of breast cancer cells.
Material and methods: In a case-control study nested within the Northern Sweden Health and Disease Cohort, we measured leptin levels in prediagnostic plasma from 149 postmenopausal women who were diagnosed with breast cancer at a mean time 1.7 years (SD 2.0) after recruitment and among 258 control subjects.
Results: No significant association between plasma levels of leptin and breast cancer risk was observed. Odds ratios (ORs) of breast cancer with increasing levels of leptin were 1.00 [referent], 1.01 [95% CI = 0.58-1.84], 0.65 [0.36-1.18], and 0.94 [0.53-1.67], and (p(for trend) = 0.54). Adjustment for smoking, body mass index, and plasma insulin did not affect risk estimates.
Discussion: These data do not support the hypothesis that plasma leptin is a risk factor for breast cancer.