Pooled analysis of prospective cohort studies on height, weight, and breast cancer risk

Piet A. Van Den Brandt, Donna Spiegelman, Shiaw Shyuan Yaun, Hans Olov Adami, Lawrence Beeson, Aaron R. Folsom, Gary Fraser, R. Alexandra Goldbohm, Saxon Graham, Larry Kushi, James R. Marshall, Anthony B. Miller, Tom Rohan, Stephanie A. Smith-Warner, Frank E. Speizer, Walter C. Willett, Alicja Wolk, David J. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

792 Scopus citations


The association between anthropometric indices and the risk of breast cancer was analyzed using pooled data from seven prospective cohort studies. Together, these cohorts comprise 337,819 women and 4,385 incident invasive breast cancer cases. In multivariate analyses controlling for reproductive, dietary, and other risk factors, the pooled relative risk (RR) of breast cancer per height increment of 5 cm was 1.02 (95% confidence interval (Cl): 0.96, 1.10) in premenopausal women and 1.07 (95% Cl: 1.03, 1.12) in postmenopausal women. Body mass index (BMI) showed significant inverse and positive associations with breast cancer among pre- and postmenopausal women, respectively; these associations were nonlinear. Compared with premenopausal women with a BMI of less than 21 kg/m2, women with a BMI exceeding 31 kg/m2 had an RR of 0.54 (95% Cl: 0.34, 0.85). In postmenopausal women, the RRs did not increase further when BMI exceeded 28 kg/m2; the RR for these women was 1.26 (95% Cl: 1.09, 1.46). The authors found little evidence for interaction with other breast cancer risk factors. Their data indicate that height is an independent risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer; in premenopausal women, this relation is less clear. The association between BMI and breast cancer varies by menopausal status. Weight control may reduce the risk among postmenopausal women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-527
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Body height
  • Body weight
  • Breast neoplasms
  • Prospective studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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