Pregnancy-related characteristics and breast cancer risk.

TitlePregnancy-related characteristics and breast cancer risk.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsBrasky TM, Li Y, Jaworowicz DJ, Potischman N, Ambrosone CB, Hutson AD, Nie J, Shields PG, Trevisan M, Rudra CB, Edge SB, Freudenheim JL
JournalCancer causes & control : CCC
Date Published2013 Sep

Breast tissues undergo extensive physiologic changes during pregnancy, which may affect breast carcinogenesis. Gestational hypertension, preeclampsia/eclampsia, gestational diabetes, pregnancy weight gain, and nausea and vomiting (N&V) during pregnancy may be indicative of altered hormonal and metabolic profiles and could impact breast cancer risk. Here, we examined associations between these characteristics of a woman's pregnancy and her subsequent breast cancer risk. Participants were parous women that were recruited to a population-based case-control study (Western New York Exposures and Breast Cancer Study). Cases (n = 960), aged 35-79 years, had incident, primary, histologically confirmed breast cancer. Controls (n = 1,852) were randomly selected from motor vehicle records (< 65 years) or Medicare rolls (≥ 65 years). Women were queried on their lifetime pregnancy experiences. Multivariable-adjusted logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). N&V during pregnancy was inversely associated with breast cancer risk. Relative to those who never experienced N&V, ever experiencing N&V was associated with decreased risk (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.56-0.84) as were increased N&V severity (p trend < 0.001), longer duration (p trend < 0.01), and larger proportion of affected pregnancies (p trend < 0.0001) among women with ≥ 3 pregnancies. Associations were stronger for more recent pregnancies (< 5 years). Findings did not differ by menopausal status or breast cancer subtype including estrogen receptor and HER2 expression status. Other pregnancy characteristics examined were not associated with risk. We observed strong inverse associations between pregnancy N&V and breast cancer risk. Replication of these findings and exploration of underlying mechanisms could provide important insight into breast cancer etiology and prevention.

Alternate JournalCancer Causes Control