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Fat Distribution Tied to Higher Risk of ER-Negative Cancer

Abdominal adiposity linked to risk of ER-negative breast cancer, not overall breast cancer risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Abdominal adiposity does not appear to play a significant role in the risk for premenopausal breast cancer overall, though it does seem to be associated with an increased risk of estrogen receptor (ER)-negative cancer, according to research published online Dec. 16 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Holly R. Harris, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues gathered data on the waist and hip circumference, waist to hip ratio, and incidence of premenopausal breast cancer in 45,799 women in order to look for an association between abdominal adiposity and premenopausal breast cancer.

During the follow-up years of 1993 to 2005, 620 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed. The researchers found no statistically significant relationships between hip circumference, waist circumference, or waist to hip ratio and risk for breast cancer. However, they found that abdominal adiposity (waist circumference and the waist to hip ratio) was more strongly associated with risk of ER-negative breast cancer than ER-positive disease.

"In conclusion, our findings suggest that abdominal adiposity may play a role in the risk of premenopausal ER-negative breast cancer. These findings may suggest that an insulin-related pathway of abdominal adiposity is involved in the etiology of premenopausal breast cancer," the authors conclude.

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