A new study based at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health investigated the association between metabolic syndrome (MetS) and risk of breast cancer mortality by menopausal status, obesity, and subtype. The results of their study appear in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. The first author is Dr. Daniel T. Dibaba, UK College of Public Health Department of Epidemiology and Markey Cancer Center. The corresponding author is Dr. Tomi Akinyemiju, UK College of Public Health Department of Epidemiology and Markey Cancer Center. Co-authors are Dr. Kemi Ogunsina of the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences, and Dr. Dejana Braithwaite of the Georgetown University Department of Oncology.
Investigators used data from 94,555 women free of cancer at baseline, in the National Institute of Health-American Association of Retired Persons Diet and Health Study cohort (NIH-AARP), to investigate the prospective associations of baseline MetS and components with risk of breast cancer mortality using Cox proportional hazard regression models adjusted for baseline behavioral and demographic covariates. They found that During a mean follow-up duration of 14 years, 607 women in the cohort had died of breast cancer. Overall, MetS was associated with a 73 percent increased risk of breast cancer mortality; the association remained significant among post-menopausal women overall, and among those with overweight/obesity. MetS was associated with increased risk of breast cancer mortality for ER+/PR+ and lower risk for ER-/PR- subtypes; however, the associations were not statistically significant. Of the individual MetS components, high waist circumference , high cholesterol, and hypertension were independently associated with increased risk of breast cancer mortality.
The researchers concluded that MetS was associated with increased risk of breast cancer mortality, especially among post-menopausal women. Further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to definitively determine the extent to which these associations vary by breast cancer subtype.