BACKGROUND: Asian women have a younger age at onset of breast cancer and a lower body mass index (BMI) than Western women. The link between obesity and risk of breast cancer in Asian women is still elusive. We aimed to investigate the effect of BMI on the risk of incident breast cancer in Taiwanese women.
METHODS: A total of 1 393 985 women who had been cancer-free before recruitment and attended a nation-wide Taiwanese breast cancer-screening program between 1999 and 2009 were enrolled using a prospective cohort study. Obesity and other relevant variables (such as menopause status and other biochemical markers) were collected through in-person interviews, anthropometric measurements and blood samples at first screen. Incident breast cancers during follow-up were ascertained through the linkage of the cohort with the National Cancer Registry and the National Death Certification System.
RESULTS: A total of 6969 and 7039 incident breast cancer cases were identified among women enrolled before and after menopause, respectively. Compared with a BMI range of 18.5-23.9 kgm(-2), the incremental level of BMI in the enrolled women before menopause revealed a lack of statistically significant association with the risk of incident breast cancer (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.94, 0.98, 1.02, 1.01 and 0.82 for BMI < 18.5, 24-26.9, 27-29.9, 30-34.9 and >= 35, respectively), but the incremental level of BMI in the enrolled women after menopause led to a statistically significant incremental increase in the risk of breast cancer (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.78, 1.19, 1.31, 1.53 and 1.65 for BMI < 18.5, 24-26.9, 27-29.9, 30-34.9 and >= 35, respectively) after adjusting for other explanatory risk factors.
CONCLUSION: Obesity acts mainly as an influential promoter of the development of late-onset breast cancer after menopause in Taiwanese women.
2016. Vol. 40, no 3, 524-530 p.