Proliferation of the breast epithelium in relation to menstrual cycle phase, hormonal use, and reproductive factors

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1996;40(2):187-96. doi: 10.1007/BF01806214.


The proliferative rate in normal breast epithelium from 58 women undergoing reduction mammoplastics was studied using the formalin resistant antibody Ki-S5, and related to age at operation, menstrual cycle phase, family history of breast cancer, height and weight, parity, and hormonal use. The breast tissue from women operated on in the luteal menstrual cycle phase (day 15-28 among oral contraceptive (OC) users) had significantly higher proliferative rate than breast tissue removed from women in the follicular phase (day 1-14) (p = 0.01). Among women presently exposed to hormones, those with a positive family history of breast cancer among first and second degree relatives had significantly higher values than cases without such history (p = 0.02). Weight was not significantly related to proliferation rate, while a short height was associated with a significantly higher proliferation rate (p = 0.04). Women who used OCs before the first full-term pregnancy (FFTP) had a significantly higher proliferation rate compared with never users or late users (p = 0.04). No significant difference was seen between parous versus nulliparous women. The results from the univariate analysis persisted in multivariate models. An especially high proliferation rate was seen in young women with both a positive family history and present hormonal use (p = 0.001). Overall, it was found that young women had a non-significantly higher proliferation rate than older women (p = 0.10). Due to small sample size, these results must be regarded as preliminary, especially in the subgroup analyses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Breast / cytology*
  • Breast / drug effects
  • Breast / physiology*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / pharmacology*
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / drug effects
  • Epithelium / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis
  • Luteal Phase / physiology
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive History*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Ki-67 Antigen