Metabolic syndrome is associated with increased breast cancer risk: a systematic review with meta-analysis

Int J Breast Cancer. 2014;2014:189384. doi: 10.1155/2014/189384. Epub 2014 Dec 29.


Background. Although individual metabolic risk factors are reported to be associated with breast cancer risk, controversy surrounds risk of breast cancer from metabolic syndrome (MS). We report the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between MS and breast cancer risk in all adult females. Methods. Studies were retrieved by searching four electronic reference databases [PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Web of Science, and ProQuest through June 30, 2012] and cross-referencing retrieved articles. Eligible for inclusion were longitudinal studies reporting associations between MS and breast cancer risk among females aged 18 years and older. Relative risks and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for each study and pooled using random-effects models. Publication bias was assessed quantitatively (Trim and Fill) and qualitatively (funnel plots). Heterogeneity was examined using Q and I (2) statistics. Results. Representing nine independent cohorts and 97,277 adult females, eight studies met the inclusion criteria. A modest, positive association was observed between MS and breast cancer risk (RR: 1.47, 95% CI, 1.15-1.87; z = 3.13; p = 0.002; Q = 26.28, p = 0.001; I (2) = 69.55%). No publication bias was observed. Conclusions. MS is associated with increased breast cancer risk in adult women.

Publication types

  • Review