To assess the joint relationships among body mass index, menopausal status, and breast cancer according to breast cancer subtype and estrogen-progestin medication use, we conducted a meta-analysis of 89 epidemiologic reports published in English during 1980-2012 identified through a systematic search of bibliographic databases. Pooled analysis yielded a summary risk ratio of 0.78 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.67, 0.92) for hormone receptor-positive premenopausal breast cancer associated with obesity (body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)(2)) ≥30 compared with <25). Obesity was associated with a summary risk ratio of 1.39 (95% CI: 1.14, 1.70) for receptor-positive postmenopausal breast cancer. For receptor-negative breast cancer, the summary risk ratios of 1.06 (95% CI: 0.70, 1.60) and 0.98 (95% CI: 0.78, 1.22) associated with obesity were null for both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, respectively. Elevated postmenopausal breast cancer risk ratios associated with obesity were limited to women who never took estrogen-progestin therapy, with risk ratios of 1.42 (95% CI: 1.30, 1.55) among never users and 1.18 (95% CI: 0.98, 1.42) among users; too few studies were available to examine this relationship according to receptor subtype. Future research is needed to confirm whether obesity is unrelated to receptor-negative breast cancer in populations of postmenopausal women with low prevalence of hormone medication use.
Keywords: body mass index; breast neoplasms; estrogen receptors; meta-analysis as topic; postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy; progesterone receptors.