HealthDay News — General and central obesity are associated with breast cancer risk, with different effects on specific subtypes, according to a study published online September 14 in The Oncologist.

Fei Wang, MD, from the Second Hospital of Shandong University in Jinan, China, and colleagues conducted a case-control study involving 1,439 breast cancer cases in Northern and Eastern China. For 1,316 cases, both estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) statuses were available. The authors examined the correlation between body size-related factors and breast cancer risk. 

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The researchers observed a positive correlation for body mass index (BMI) and waist/hip ratio (WHR) with overall breast cancer risk. BMI was positively correlated with ER+/PR+ and ER−/PR− subtype risks, with a significant association only seen for ER+/PR+ subtypes. There was a positive correlation for WHR with ER−/PR− subtype risk only, independent of BMI. In premenopausal women, BMI was positively associated with ER+/PR+ and ER−/PR− subtypes, while WHR was inversely linked to ER+/PR− and positively linked to ER−/PR− subtype risks. WHR >0.85 correlated with increased risk of ER−/PR− subtype among postmenopausal women.

“These results suggest that different chemoprevention strategies may be appropriate in selected individuals,” the authors write.

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