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Metabolic factors may play a role in risk for breast cancer
Date:6/30/2009

ngitudinal study, the researchers used existing data from the Women's Health Initiative a large, national study designed to assess major causes of chronic disease in women. Participants included postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years at enrollment who had repeated measurements of components of metabolic syndrome over an eight-year period. These included blood levels of glucose, HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as waist girth and blood pressure.

Results showed a modest positive association of having the metabolic syndrome as a whole, according to Kabat. Of the 4,888 women with baseline measurements who did not have diabetes, 165 incident cases of breast cancer were diagnosed during the follow-up period. Presence of the metabolic syndrome at baseline was not associated with breast cancer risk.

However, in analyses that made use of the repeated measurements, "women who had the metabolic syndrome during the three to five years prior to breast cancer diagnosis had roughly a doubling of risk," he said.

Findings also showed significant associations with elevated blood glucose levels, triglycerides and diastolic blood pressure. For diastolic blood pressure, the result was stronger, with more than a two-fold increased risk (relative risk = 2.4). Generally, for both triglycerides and glucose the relative risk was about 1.7 for all breast cancer.

"We know a great deal about breast cancer, but we can't identify who is likely to get it. The effect of different variables associated with increased glucose and insulin levels needs to be evaluated further in larger studies," Kabat said. "We need to deepen our understanding of these different interrelated behaviors and physiological factors to see how they affect breast cancer."

Tim Byers, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean of the Colorado School of Public Health and interim director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, believes these findings are important because the
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Contact: Tara Yates
tara.yates@aacr.org
267-646-0558
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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