, Volume 102, Issue 1, pp 85-101
Date: 02 Nov 2006

Body size, weight change, fat distribution and breast cancer risk in Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women

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The incidence of breast cancer varies among women living in the Southwestern part of the US. We evaluate how body size influences breast cancer risk among these women.


Cases (n =  2,325) diagnosed with breast cancer between October 1, 1999 and May 2004 residing in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, or Utah were matched to controls (n = 2,525). Participants were interviewed; height, weight, waist, and hip circumference were measured at the time of interview; blood was drawn.


A large body mass index (BMI) at age 15 was inversely associated with pre-menopausal breast cancer risk in both non-Hispanic white (NHW) and Hispanic women (Odds ratio, ORs 0.68 95% CI 0.44, 1.04, and 0.65 95% CI 0.39, 1.08, respectively); BMI at age 15 also had an impact on subsequent breast cancer associated with obesity after menopause. Among post-menopausal women, recent exposure to hormones was an important modifier of risk associated with body size. Among women not recently exposed to hormones risk associated with obesity was 1.61 (95% CI 1.05, 2.45) for NHW women; gaining ≥25 kg between 15 and age 50 was inversely associated with breast cancer among Hispanic women (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.23, 1.14). A large weight gain and a large waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) was associated with an increased odds of having an estrogen receptor negative tumor among NHW only (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.07, 3.08, and 2.04 95% CI 1.20,3.50).


These findings suggest that the metabolic consequences of obesity on breast cancer risk differ between NHW and Hispanic women living in the Southwest.

Author’s contributions: Drs Slattery, Baumgartner, Murtaugh, Baumgartner, Giuliano, and Byers and Ms. Edwards contributed to data collection efforts. Dr. Slattery provided oversight to the study; Ms. Edwards developed the study questionnaire and was instrumental in implementing study protocol. Dr. Wolff was responsible for genetic testing, Dr. Slattery, Dr. Sweeney, and Jennifer Herrick conducted data analyses. Dr. Slattery prepared the manuscript. All authors contributed to the final manuscript.
An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-007-9603-y