Metabolic syndrome and elevated C-reactive protein in breast cancer survivors on adjuvant hormone therapy

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2009 Dec;18(12):2041-7. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2009.1365.


Aims: As the efficacy of treatment for breast cancer has improved, particularly with the use of antiestrogenic therapies, there is an increasing population of long-term breast cancer survivors who seeks care with unique health issues. These patients may be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) resulting from excess adiposity and treatment effects. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) and elevated C-reactive protein (CRP), two predictors of CVD, have not been fully evaluated in overweight breast cancer survivors on hormone-modulating agents.

Methods: Anthropometric measures, including weight, height, waist and hip circumferences; clinical laboratory assessments, including lipids, glucose, glycoslyated hemoglobin (HbA1c), insulin, and high sensitivity CRP; and body composition and blood pressure (BP) were collected from overweight breast cancer survivors (n=42). Select measures were used to derive MetS using the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATP III) diagnostic criteria.

Results: Participants had a mean body weight of 83.8 kg and body mass index (BMI) of 31.4 kg/m2. Mean fasting glucose (98+/-12.9 mg/dL), HbA1c (6.0+/-0.5 mg/dL), cholesterol (199+/-33.7 mg/dL), and insulin (16+/-3.2 mg/dL) were all at the upper end of the normal range. MetS was diagnosed in 54.8% of overweight postmenopausal breast cancer survivors. CRP was moderately or severely elevated in 90.5% of the population (mean of 5.1+/-5.3 mg/dL).

Conclusions: In our sample, overweight breast cancer survivors commonly have MetS and elevated CRP that place them at increased risk for cardiovascular and other metabolic diseases. If replicated in a larger sample, this warrants close medical monitoring to prevent and reduce morbidity and mortality unrelated to breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / administration & dosage*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Waist Circumference
  • Women's Health


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • C-Reactive Protein