Oxidative Stress and Breast Cancer Risk in Premenopausal Women

Epidemiology. 2017 Sep;28(5):667-674. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000685.


Background: Detrimental effects of oxidative stress are widely recognized, but induction of apoptosis and senescence may also have benefits for cancer prevention. Recent studies suggest oxidative stress may be associated with lower breast cancer risk before menopause.

Methods: We conducted a nested case-control study (N = 457 cases, 910 controls) within the NIEHS Sister Study cohort of 50,884 women. Premenopausal women ages 35-54 were eligible for selection. We matched controls 2:1 to cases on age and enrollment year and were breast cancer-free at the time of the corresponding case's diagnosis. Oxidative stress was measured by urinary F2-isoprostane and metabolite (15-F2t-isoprostane-M) concentrations. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated with multivariable conditional logistic regression.

Results: After multivariable adjustment for body mass index (BMI) and other potential confounders, the OR for breast cancer comparing the >90th (≥2.94 ng/mgCr) to <25th percentile (1.01 ng/mgCr) was 1.1 (CI: 0.65, 1.7) for F2-isoprostane and 0.70 (CI: 0.43, 1.1) for the metabolite. Higher metabolite concentrations were associated with lower breast cancer risk among women who were also premenopausal (353 cases, OR: 0.59, CI: 0.34, 1.0) or <46 years (82 cases, OR: 0.15, CI: 0.06, 0.42) at diagnosis. ORs for the metabolite and breast cancer were inverse among women with BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m (OR: 0.47, CI: 0.18, 1.2, 208 cases) and >30 kg/m (OR: 0.71, CI: 0.30, 1.7, 107 cases), but not among women with BMI 25-29.9 kg/m (OR: 0.98, CI: 0.39, 2.5, 138 cases).

Conclusions: Together with other studies, our results support a possible inverse association between oxidative stress and premenopausal breast cancer risk.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoprostanes / urine
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Postmenopause
  • Risk Factors


  • Isoprostanes