Few risk factors have been identified for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) which lacks expression of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). This more aggressive subtype disproportionately affects some racial/ethnic minorities and is associated with lower survival. We pooled data from three population-based studies (558 TNBC and 5,111 controls) and examined associations of TNBC risk with reproductive history and breast-feeding. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using multivariable logistic regression. For younger women, aged <50 years, TNBC risk was increased two-fold for parous women who never breast-fed compared to nulliparous women (OR = 2.02, 95% CI = 1.12-3.63). For younger parous women, longer duration of lifetime breast-feeding was associated with a borderline reduced risk (≥24 vs. 0 months: OR = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.26-1.04, Ptrend = 0.06). Considering the joint effect of parity and breast-feeding, risk was increased two-fold for women with ≥3 full-term pregnancies (FTPs) and no or short-term (<12 months) breast-feeding compared to women with 1-2 FTPs and breast-feeding ≥12 months (OR = 2.56, 95% CI = 1.22-5.35). None of these associations were observed among older women (≥50 years). Differences in reproductive patterns possibly contribute to the ethnic differences in TNBC incidence. Among controls aged <50 years, the prevalence of no or short-term breast-feeding and ≥3 FTPs was highest for Hispanics (22%), followed by African Americans (18%), Asian Americans (15%) and non-Hispanic whites (6%). Breast-feeding is a modifiable behavioral factor that may lower TNBC risk and mitigate the effect of FTPs in women under age 50 years.
Keywords: Hispanics; Latinas; breast cancer; breast-feeding; epidemiology; estrogen receptor status; parity; progesterone receptor status; risk factors; triple negative breast cancer.
© 2018 UICC.