An association of cigarette smoking with breast cancer risk has been hypothesized. However, results from previous studies have been inconsistent. This case-control study investigated the association of cigarette smoking with breast cancer risk in terms of estrogen-receptor/progesterone-receptor (ER/PgR) status. From among female patients aged 30 years and over admitted to a single hospital in Japan between 1997 and 2011, 1,263 breast cancer cases (672 ER+/PgR+, 158 ER+/PgR-, 22 ER-/PgR+, 308 ER-/PgR- and 103 missing) and 3,160 controls were selected. History of smoking (ever, never), some smoking-related measures, and passive smoking from husbands (ever, never) were assessed using a self-administered questionnaire. Polytomous logistic regression and tests for heterogeneity across ER+/PgR + and ER-/PgR- were conducted. For any hormone receptor subtype, no significant association was observed between history of smoking (ever, never) and breast cancer risk. Analysis of smoking-related measures revealed that starting to smoke at an early age of ≤19 years was significantly associated with an increased risk of postmenopausal ER-/PgR- cancer (odds ratio = 7.01, 95% confidence interval: 2.07-23.73). Other measures of smoking such as the number of cigarettes per day, the duration of smoking, and start of smoking before the first birth were not associated with breast cancer risk for any receptor subtype. There was no association between passive smoking (ever, never) and breast cancer risk for any of the four subtypes. These results indicate that history of smoking and passive smoking from husbands may have no overall effect on breast cancer risk for any hormone receptor subtype. However, it is possible that women who start to smoke as teenagers may have a higher risk of developing postmenopausal ER-/PgR- cancer. Further studies are needed to clarify the association of smoking with breast cancer risk, especially the role of starting to smoke at an early age.
Keywords: Breast cancer; Case-control study; Hormone receptor; Menopausal status; Passive smoking; Smoking.