Breast Cancer

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 452–461 | Cite as

Relationship of serum isoflavone, insulin and adiponectin levels with breast cancer risk

  • Machiko MinatoyaEmail author
  • Goro Kutomi
  • Sumiyo Asakura
  • Seiko Otokozawa
  • Yukiko Sugiyama
  • Hirofumi Ohnishi
  • Hiroshi Akasaka
  • Tetsuji Miura
  • Mitsuru Mori
  • Koichi Hirata
Original Article



Obesity is one of the well-known risk factors of breast cancer. Accumulating evidence suggests that adiponectin, an obesity-related hormone, is inversely associated with breast cancer risk, particularly in postmenopausal women. Obesity is also associated with high levels of insulin. In addition, studies have suggested that the soy isoflavones present in the traditional Japanese diet have been associated with decreased risk of breast cancer. However, there is no study that has assessed associations between serum levels of isoflavones, insulin, adiponectin and the risk of breast cancer all together with menopausal status.


In a case–control study of 63 histologically confirmed breast cancer patients and 76 controls, serum isoflavone, insulin, and high-molecular-weight (HMW) adiponectin levels and breast cancer risk were examined for their association with breast cancer risk after adjustment for various risk factors.


Women in the highest tertile of serum HMW adiponectin levels were associated with a statistically significant decreased risk for breast cancer compared with women in the lowest tertile [odds ratio (OR), 0.09; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.03–0.33]. This association was observed in postmenopausal women (OR 0.06; 95 % CI 0.01–0.28), but not in premenopausal women. The observed associations were independent of possible effects of insulin, body mass index, and known risk factors for breast cancer. Serum isoflavones and insulin levels were not associated with breast cancer risk.


This study suggests that high serum HMW adiponectin levels are significantly associated with a decreased risk for breast cancer. Our result support the hypothesis that serum adiponectin may act as a potential biomarker for breast cancer.


Isoflavones Insulin Adiponectin Breast cancer 



This study is supported by a Grant-in-aid for Scientific Research (Project Number 24659325) from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan.

Conflict of interest

All authors have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Breast Cancer Society 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Machiko Minatoya
    • 1
    Email author
  • Goro Kutomi
    • 2
  • Sumiyo Asakura
    • 1
  • Seiko Otokozawa
    • 1
  • Yukiko Sugiyama
    • 1
  • Hirofumi Ohnishi
    • 1
  • Hiroshi Akasaka
    • 3
  • Tetsuji Miura
    • 3
  • Mitsuru Mori
    • 1
  • Koichi Hirata
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Public HealthSapporo Medical University School of MedicineChuo-kuJapan
  2. 2.Department of Surgery, Surgical Oncology and ScienceSapporo Medical University School of MedicineSapporoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic MedicineSapporo Medical University School of MedicineSapporoJapan

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