Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 167, Issue 1, pp 277–288 | Cite as

Obesity and survival in the neoadjuvant breast cancer setting: role of tumor subtype in an ethnically diverse population

  • Ying L. Liu
  • Anurag Saraf
  • Benjamin Catanese
  • Shing M. Lee
  • Yuan Zhang
  • Eileen P. Connolly
  • Kevin KalinskyEmail author



Obesity may negatively affect survival in breast cancer (BC), but studies are conflicting, and associations may vary by tumor subtypes and race/ethnicity groups.


In a retrospective review, we identified 273 women with invasive BC administered Adriamycin/Taxane-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy from 2004 to 2016 with body mass index (BMI) data at diagnosis. Obesity was defined as BMI ≥30. Associations between obesity and event-free survival (EFS), using STEEP events, and overall survival (OS), using all-cause mortality, were assessed overall and stratified by tumor subtype [[Hormone Receptor Positive (HR+)/HER2−, HER2+, and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC])] in our diverse population.


Median follow-up was 32.6 months (range 5.7–137.8 months). Overall, obesity was associated with worse EFS (HR 1.71, 95% CI 1.03–2.84, p = 0.04) and a trend towards worse OS (p = 0.13). In HR+/HER2− disease (n = 135), there was an interaction between obesity and hormonal therapy with respect to OS but not EFS. In those receiving tamoxifen (n = 33), obesity was associated with worse OS (HR 9.27, 95% CI 0.96–89.3, p = 0.05). In those receiving an aromatase inhibitor (n = 89), there was no association between obesity and OS. In TNBC (n = 44), obesity was associated with worse EFS (HR 2.62, 95% CI 1.03–6.66, p = 0.04) and a trend towards worse OS (p = 0.06). In HER2+ disease (n = 94), obesity was associated with a trend towards worse EFS (HR 3.37, 95% CI 0.97–11.72, p = 0.06) but not OS. Race/ethnicity was not associated with survival in any subtype, and there were no interactions with obesity on survival.


Obesity may negatively impact survival, with differences among tumor subtypes.


Breast cancer Obesity Survival Tumor subtype Race/ethnicity Neoadjuvant chemotherapy 



Body mass index


Neoadjuvant chemotherapy


Hormone receptor positive


Triple-negative breast cancer


Pathologic complete response


Event-free survival


Overall survival



This study was funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through Grant Number KL2 TR000081.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Author EC has received funding from Merck and has served as a consultant for Eisai. Author KK has served as a consultant for Lilly, Biotheranostics, Amgen, Eisai, and Novartis. All other authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10549_2017_4507_MOESM1_ESM.docx (267 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 267 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ying L. Liu
    • 1
  • Anurag Saraf
    • 2
  • Benjamin Catanese
    • 2
  • Shing M. Lee
    • 3
  • Yuan Zhang
    • 3
  • Eileen P. Connolly
    • 2
  • Kevin Kalinsky
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, New York Presbyterian HospitalColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiation Oncology, New York Presbyterian HospitalColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiostatisticsColumbia University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Medical Oncology, New York Presbyterian HospitalColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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