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Reproductive and lifestyle factors related to breast cancer among Japanese women: An observational cohort study

Liu R1Kitamura Y1Kitamura T1Sobue T1Sado J1Sugawara Y2Matsuo K3,4Nakayama T5Tsuji I2Ito H4,6Suzuki T5Katanoda K7Tominaga S8Three-Prefecture Cohort Study Group.

Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Dec;98(51):e18315. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000018315.



The incidence of breast cancer among Japanese women is substantially increasing. This study evaluated the effects of reproductive and lifestyle factors with respect to breast cancer overall and separately among pre- and postmenopausal women using data from the Three-Prefecture Cohort Study of Japan.A total of 33,410 women aged 40 to 79 years completed a self-administered questionnaire, which included items about menstrual and reproductive history and other lifestyle factors. The follow-up period was from 1984 to 1992 in Miyagi and 1985 to 2000 in Aichi Prefectures. We used Cox proportional hazards regression models to estimate hazards ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) after adjusting for confounding factors.After 9.8 mean years of follow-up, 287 cases of breast cancer were recorded. In the overall analysis, later menarche (≥16 years) and parity were significantly associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer, with HRs of 0.69 (95% CI 0.48-0.99) and 0.72 (95% CI 0.52-0.99), respectively. Further, there was a significant decline in the risk of breast cancer with increasing number of birth among parous women (P for trend = .010). On the contrary, a family history of breast cancer in the mother was significantly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer (HR 3.22, 95% CI 1.52-6.84). Analyses based on menopausal status at baseline indicated that height (≥160 cm) and weight (≥65 kg) were significantly associated with an increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, with HRs of 1.34 (95% CI 0.72-2.50) and 3.13 (95% CI 1.75-5.60), respectively. Risk associated with BMI significantly differs by menopausal status.Our findings suggest the important role of reproductive factors in the development of breast cancer in Japanese women; however, body mass index (BMI) may have different effects on breast cancer in Japanese women compared with western women.