Is Increased Adiposity Causally Protective for Breast Cancer?
Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2020
According to a recent analysis conducted by Alexandra Blakemore, PhD, of Brunel University London, and colleagues, increased adiposity may be protective for breast cancer. The results were presented during the virtual edition of the 2020 American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) Annual Meeting (Abstract 2359). Of note, the results also indicated that increased adiposity might be protective for prostate cancer.
“Public health campaigns…portray weight loss as an effective cancer prevention strategy,” commented initial study author Hasnat Amin, BSc, also of Brunel University London, in an ASHG press release. “However, our findings contradict this idea. There may even be certain risks in advising fat loss if, for example, if fat cells are involved in the absorption of carcinogenic substances.”
The investigators assessed the causal effect of several adiposity measures on breast cancer risk in the UK Biobank, a prospective cohort study with more than 500,000 participants, using one-sample Mendelian randomization. Data from the BCAC consortium (122,977 breast cancer cases and 105,974 controls) were used to replicate findings by two-sample Mendelian randomization.
Based on the results of one-sample Mendelian randomization, an increased body mass index (odds ratio = 0.776) and hip circumference (odds ratio = 0.781) seemed to decrease the risk of breast cancer. Two-sample Mendelian randomization results also suggested that an increased body mass index seemed to decrease the risk of breast cancer (odds ratio = 0.683). The investigators acknowledged that the observational association between body mass index and breast cancer might be influenced by variables relating to physical activity and age.
Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.