Body size and breast cancer risk: The multiethnic cohort

International Journal of Cancer, 04/24/2012

White KK et al. – The findings emphasize the significance of maintaining a healthy weight throughout adulthood for the prevention of postmenopausal breast cancer.


  • Of the 82,971 White, African American, Native Hawaiian, Japanese and Latina women included in this analysis, 3,030 were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
  • Body mass index (BMI), height, weight and adulthood weight gain were associated with a significantly higher risk and, with the exception of height, were found to vary across ethnic groups.


  • Native Hawaiians and Japanese with a BMI ≥30.0 compared to 20.0–24.9kg/m2 had the highest risk (hazard ratio=1.82, 95% confidence interval: 1.31, 2.54, p-trend=0.001, and hazard ratio=1.59, 95% confidence interval: 1.24, 2.05, p-trend<0.0001, respectively).
  • Current hormone replacement therapy use modified the impact of a high BMI, as non- and former users had a significantly higher risk compared to current users.
  • BMI also had a more pronounced risk for advanced tumors compared to localized tumors.
  • When both BMI and adult weight gain were analyzed simultaneously, adult weight gain, rather than BMI, was a significant risk factor overall.

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