Weight Gain and Alcohol Drinking Associations with Breast Cancer Risk in Japanese Postmenopausal Women - Results from the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016;17(3):1437-43. doi: 10.7314/apjcp.2016.17.3.1437.


Background: We investigated four factors, height, weight gain since age 20, physical activity, and alcohol drinking, for associations with risk of breast cancer (BC) according to menopausal status, using the latest data of the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study (JACC Study).

Materials and methods: We confined the analysis to 24 areas available of cancer incidence information, excluding women with a previous diagnosis of BC. Baseline data were collected from 38,610 (9,367 premenopausal, and 29,243 postmenopausal) women during 1988 and 1990. The study subjects were followed-up at the end of 2009, and 273 (84 premenopausal, and 189 postmenopausal) cases of BC were newly diagnosed in 501,907 person-years. The Cox model was used to estimate a hazards ratio (HR) and its 95% confidence interval (CI) of BC risk.

Results: As a result of the multivariate analysis adjusting for age at baseline survey, age at menarche, number of live births, and, age at first delivery, weight gain since age 20 of 6.7 kg-9.9 kg, and ≥10.0 kg were significantly associated with increased risk for postmenopausal BC (HR=2.48, 95% CI 1.40-4.41, and, HR=2.94, 95% CI 1.84-4.70, respectively). Significantly increased trend of BC risk was also observed in weight gain since age 20 (p for trend, p<0.001). Amount of ethanol intake per day≥15.0 g was significantly associated with increased risk for postmenopausal BC in the multivariable-adjusted analysis (HR=2.74, 95% CI 1.32-5.70).

Conclusions: Higher weight gain in adulthood and larger amounts of ethanol intake were significantly associated with increased risk of BC in Japanese postmenopausal women. None of the investigated factors were significantly associated with BC risk in Japanese premenopausal women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Gain*
  • Young Adult