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Preeclampsia Associated with Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Odds ratio for breast cancer 0.7 in women with preeclampsia compared with other parous women

TUESDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have experienced preeclampsia and other pregnancy-related complications may have a lower breast cancer risk than other women, according to a report in the May 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Mary Beth Terry, Ph.D., of Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues compared information obtained from a 1996-1997 Long Island study of 1,310 breast cancer patients with data on 1,385 controls. All the women had borne children.

The researchers found that women with preeclampsia had a lower breast cancer risk than others (odds ratio 0.7). The risk was lower for women who had repeat episodes of preeclampsia (OR, 0.3). Postmenopausal women who had preeclampsia during a pregnancy had a lower breast cancer risk than premenopausal women. Women who had hypertension during pregnancy had a lower breast cancer risk as well, but the finding was not statistically significant.

"These data suggest that pregnancy conditions related to hypertension, particularly preeclampsia, play a role in reducing breast cancer risk," the authors write. "Possible biologic mechanisms underpinning these associations should be further explored."

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