Body size from birth through adolescence in relation to risk of benign breast disease in young women

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2017 Feb;162(1):139-149. doi: 10.1007/s10549-016-4084-5. Epub 2017 Jan 6.


Purpose: Body size, from birth throughout adulthood, is associated with breast cancer risk, but few studies have investigated early-life body size and benign breast disease (BBD), a well-established breast cancer risk factor. We consider whether prenatal factors and size at birth, 10, 18 year, and intervening growth, are related to BBD risk.

Methods: The Growing Up Today Study includes 9032 females who completed questionnaires annually from 1996 to 2001, then 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2013. In 1996, their mothers provided pregnancy-related data. From 2005 to 2013, participants (18 year+) reported whether they had ever been diagnosed with biopsy-confirmed BBD (N = 142 cases).

Results: Girls had greater adiposity (BMI; kg/m2) at 10 year if they were larger at birth, if mother's pre-pregnancy BMI was higher, or if gestational weight gain was greater (all p < .01). Maternal height was (positively) associated (p < .05) with adolescent peak height growth velocity (PHV; in./year). Greater 10 year adiposity was associated with lower PHV and less height growth 10-18 year (both p < .01). Adiposity at 10 year was inversely associated with BBD (OR 0.83/(kg/m2), p < .01) as was increasing adiposity 10-18 year (OR 0.85/(kg/m2), p = .01). In a separate model, 10 year height (OR 1.13/in., p = .02) and height growth 10-18 year (OR 1.19/in.; p < .01) were positively associated. PHV was similarly positively associated (OR 2.58, p = .01, fastest versus slowest growth quartiles). In a multivariable model of BBD risk, gestational weight gain (daughters at highest risk if <20 lb gained), PHV (slowest growing girls at lowest risk), age 10 year height (positive), and BMI (inverse) were the most critical childhood risk factors (each p < .05).

Conclusions: Body size factors from pregnancy through adolescence were independently associated with BBD risk in young women.

Keywords: Birth weight; Childhood adiposity; Gestational weight gain; Height growth; Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI; Prenatal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adolescent
  • Birth Weight*
  • Body Size*
  • Breast Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Breast Diseases / etiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Weight Gain*