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Childhood body mass index and adult mammographic density measures that predict breast cancer risk


Hopper, JL and Nguyen, TL and Stone, J and Aujard, K and Matheson, MC and Abramson, MJ and Burgess, JA and Walters, EH and Dite, GS and Bui, M and Evans, C and Makalic, E and Schmidt, DF and Ward, G and Jenkins, MA and Giles, GG and Dharmage, SC and Apicella, C, Childhood body mass index and adult mammographic density measures that predict breast cancer risk, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 156, (1) pp. 163-70. ISSN 0167-6806 (2016) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10549-016-3719-x


The aim of the present study is to determine if body mass index (BMI) during childhood is associated with the breast cancer risk factor ‘adult mammographic density adjusted for age and BMI’. In 1968, the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study studied every Tasmanian school child born in 1961. We obtained measured heights and weights from annual school medical records across ages 7–15 years and imputed missing values. Between 2009 and 2012, we administered to 490 women a questionnaire that asked current height and weight and digitised at least one mammogram per woman. Absolute and percent mammographic densities were measured using the computer-assisted method CUMULUS. We used linear regression and adjusted for age at interview and log current BMI. The mammographic density measures were negatively associated: with log BMI at each age from 7 to 15 years (all p < 0.05); with the average of standardised log BMIs across ages 7–15 years (p < 0.0005); and more strongly with standardised log BMI measures closer to age 15 years (p ≤ 0.03). Childhood BMI measures explained 7 and 10 % of the variance in absolute and percent mammographic densities, respectively, and 25 and 20 % of the association between current BMI and absolute and percent mammographic densities, respectively. Associations were not altered by adjustment for age at menarche. There is a negative association between BMI in late childhood and the adult mammographic density measures that predict breast cancer risk. This could explain, at least in part, why BMI in adolescence is negatively associated with breast cancer risk.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adolescence, body mass index, breast cancer, childhood growth, mammographic density, prospective study
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Walters, EH (Professor Haydn Walters)
ID Code:110987
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2016-08-25
Last Modified:2018-03-07

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