Overweight and obesity are inversely related to the risk of breast cancer among premenopausal women. We assessed the association between adult weight change since age 18 years with the risk of breast cancer among premenopausal women to explore whether weight gain was associated with a decrease in risk and weight loss was associated with an increase in risk. A total of 56,223 premenopausal participants in the Nurses' Health Study and 109,385 premenopausal participants in the Nurses' Health Study II were prospectively followed for up to 32 years and 18 years, respectively, and weight change since age 18 years was assessed biennially. The incidence of invasive breast cancer was assessed throughout follow-up. Weight loss of 5 kg or more since age 18, maintained for at least 4 years, was related to lower incidence of premenopausal breast cancer, compared to maintaining a stable weight, but this relation was of borderline statistical significance (covariate-adjusted HR = 0.75; 95% CI 0.52-1.09). Weight gain since age 18 years was also inversely related to breast cancer incidence among premenopausal women (covariate-adjusted p for trend = 0.01), but the association weakened after controlling for weight at age 18 and did not reach statistical significance (p for trend = 0.08). Although obesity and breast cancer among premenopausal women are inversely related, weight loss since age 18 years did not increase and weight gain did not significantly decrease the risk of premenopausal breast cancer among participants in the large prospective cohorts of NHS and NHS II.
Copyright © 2011 UICC.