Body size changes in relation to postmenopausal breast cancer among women on Long Island, New York

Am J Epidemiol. 2005 Aug 1;162(3):229-37. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwi195. Epub 2005 Jun 29.


To examine effects of body size change on postmenopausal breast cancer, the authors conducted a population-based case-control study among 990 cases and 1,006 controls participating in the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project in 1996-1997. Women who had gained more than 15 kg (33 pounds) since age 20 years were at a 1.6-fold increased risk of breast cancer (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.11, 2.26) relative to their counterparts with stable (+/-3 kg) weight. Subjects who had gained more than 11 kg (24 pounds) during the peri- and postmenopausal years (since age 50 years) had 1.62 times the risk of breast cancer of those whose weight remained unchanged during this time period. This effect of peri- and postmenopausal body size gain was present only among never users of hormone replacement therapy (odds ratio (OR) = 2.02 (95% CI: 1.35, 3.02) as opposed to 0.81 (95% CI: 0.43, 1.53) for ever users; multiplicative interaction: p < 0.01) and was more pronounced among women with estrogen receptor-positive/progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer (OR = 2.17, 95% CI: 1.38, 3.42). Weight loss over the lifetime was associated with decreased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer (OR = 0.55, 95% CI: 0.32, 0.96). These results add to the literature by focusing on the perimenopausal weight trajectory and support efforts urging women to avoid weight gain as they age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Size*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Gain