Metabolic Syndrome and the Risk of Breast Cancer and Subtypes by Race, Menopause and BMI

Cancers (Basel). 2018 Sep 1;10(9):299. doi: 10.3390/cancers10090299.


The objective of this study was to investigate the association of metabolic syndrome (MetS) with the risk of invasive breast cancer and molecular subtypes across race, menopause, and body mass index (BMI) groups. We examined the association of metabolic syndrome and its components with risk of invasive breast cancer among 94,555 female participants of the National Institute of Health-American Association of Retired Persons (NIH-AARP) Diet and Health Study, accounting for ductal carcinoma in situ as a competing risk. Cox proportional hazard regression with the Fine and Gray method was used to generate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusting for baseline sociodemographic, behavioral, and clinical covariates. During a mean follow-up of 14 years, 5380 (5.7%) women developed breast cancer. Overall, MetS at baseline was associated with a 13% increased risk of breast cancer compared to women without MetS (HR: 1.13, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.27); similar estimates were obtained among postmenopausal women (HR: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.29). MetS was associated with a slight but non-significantly increased risk of breast cancer among those with both normal weight and overweight/obesity, and those with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer subtype. In the NIH-AARP cohort, MetS was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Further studies are needed to definitively evaluate the association of MetS with triple negative breast cancer subtypes across all levels of BMI.

Keywords: NIH-AARP; breast cancer incidence; metabolic health; metabolic syndrome; obesity.