, Volume 130, Issue 3, pp 917-925
Date: 28 Jun 2011

Birth weight and other prenatal factors and risk of breast cancer in Asian-Americans

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Little is known about the role of birth weight and other prenatal factors in the etiology of breast cancer in Asian-Americans. We investigated the relation between birth weight and other prenatal factors and breast cancer risk in a population-based case–control study in Los Angeles County that included 2,259 Asian-American women with incident, histologically confirmed breast cancer and 2,019 control women, who were frequency matched to cases on age, Asian ethnicity, and neighborhood of residence. Breast cancer risk nearly doubled (odds ratio (OR) = 1.97, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.15–3.39) among those with high (≥4000 g) birth weight compared to those with low (<2500 g) birth weight after adjusting for age at menarche, parity, adult body mass index, and other covariates. Risk increased 8% per 500 g increase in birth weight (P trend = 0.10). We observed a significant relationship between birth weight and age at menarche in both cases and controls. Mean birth weight was higher (2948 g) for control women who had early menarche (age ≤ 11 years) compared to those who had menarche late (age ≥ 15 years) (2807 g) (P trend = 0.016); results were similar among case patients (P trend = 0.020). Older maternal age was also a risk factor; risk increased by 6% (95% CI = 1.01–1.12) per 5 years increase in maternal age with adjustment for parity and other risk factors. Our results support the hypothesis that high birth weight and older maternal age at pregnancy may have contributed to the rising breast cancer incidence in Asian-Americans.