An analysis of the association between breast density and body mass index with breast cancer molecular subtypes in early breast cancer: data from a Spanish population

Clin Transl Oncol. 2024 May 11. doi: 10.1007/s12094-024-03469-6. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Breast cancer is an important health problem, like obesity and dyslipidemia, with a strong association between body mass index (BMI) and breast cancer incidence and mortality. The risk of breast cancer is also high in women with high mammographic breast density (MBD). The purpose of this study was to analyze the association between BMI and MBD according to breast cancer molecular subtypes.

Methods: This transversal, descriptive, multicenter study was conducted at three Spanish breast cancer units from November 2019 to October 2020 in women with a recent diagnosis of early breast cancer. Data were collected at the time of diagnosis.

Results: The study included 162 women with a recent diagnosis of early breast cancer. The median age was 52 years and 49.1% were postmenopausal; 52% had normal weight, 32% overweight, and 16% obesity. There was no association between BMI and molecular subtype but, according to menopausal status, BMI was significantly higher in postmenopausal patients with luminal A (p = 0.011) and HER2-positive (p = 0.027) subtypes. There was no association between MBD and molecular subtype, but there were significant differences between BMI and MBD (p < 0.001), with lower BMI in patients with higher MBD. Patients with higher BMI had lower HDL-cholesterol (p < 0.001) and higher insulin (p < 0.001) levels, but there were no significant differences in total cholesterol or vitamin D.

Conclusions: This study showed higher BMI in luminal A and HER2-positive postmenopausal patients, and higher BMI in patients with low MBD regardless of menopausal status.

Keywords: Body mass index; Early breast cancer; Mammographic breast density; Obesity.