Body mass index (BMI) is an independent risk factor for luminal-type breast cancer in Western populations. However, it is unclear whether the impact of BMI differs according to breast cancer subtype in Japanese populations. We conducted a case-control study with 715 cases and 1430 age- and menopausal status-matched controls to evaluate the associations of BMI and its change (from age 20 years to the current age) with breast cancer risk. We applied conditional logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Tumor subtypes were divided into four subtypes, namely the luminal, luminal/HER2, HER2-rich, and triple-negative subtypes. Current BMI and BMI change were positively associated with postmenopausal breast cancer risk. On stratified analysis by tumor subtype, we observed associations between current BMI and BMI change and postmenopausal breast cancer risk for the luminal subtype, with OR for each 1 kg/m(2) increase in current BMI of 1.14 (95% CI: 1.07 - 1.20) and the corresponding OR of BMI change of 1.16 (1.09 - 1.23) (each P(trend) < 0.001). Additionally, we found the same tendency for the triple-negative subtype, with the OR for a 1 kg/m(2) increase in current BMI of 1.21 (1.05 - 1.39) and that for BMI change of 1.18 (1.02 - 1.36) (P(trend) was 0.008 and 0.024, respectively). In premenopausal women, a suggestive inverse association was observed between BMI change and breast cancer risk for the luminal subtype only, with OR of BMI change of 0.93 (0.87 - 1.00, P(trend) = 0.054). No association was seen between BMI at age 20 years and risk of any tumor subtype. In conclusion, BMI and its change are associated with the risk of both luminal and triple-negative breast cancer among postmenopausal Japanese women. These findings suggest the etiological heterogeneity of breast cancer among tumor subtypes.
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