Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below

Risk of breast cancer according to the status of HER-2/neu oncogene amplification.

Author information

  • 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599, USA.


We examined risk factors for breast cancer after subdividing cases based on the presence of HER-2/neu oncogene amplification in their tumors. Data were from the Carolina Breast Cancer Study, a population-based, case-control study of 577 invasive breast cancer patients, diagnosed during 1993-1996 and ages 20-74 years, and 790 controls frequency-matched on race and age. Information on breast cancer risk factors was obtained from structured personal interviews. About 20% of paraffin-embedded tissues from the breast cancers of cases were identified as positive for HER-2/neu amplification (HER-2/neu+) by differential PCR. Early age at menarche, higher waist:hip ratio, and family history of breast or ovarian cancer were associated with elevated odds ratios (ORs) for both HER-2/neu+ and HER-2/neu- breast cancers. Breastfeeding for at least 1 year was inversely associated with HER-2/neu+ breast cancer [OR, 0.3; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.1-0.7] more so than HER-2/neu- breast cancer (OR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.5-1.2). Most of the remaining risk factors had ORs around 1.0 for both HER-2/neu+ and HER-2/neu- breast cancers, although a few exhibited possible associations with one disease subtype in analyses stratified by menopausal status. These study results suggest that most recognized breast cancer risk factors do not operate through HER-2/neu amplification in breast carcinogenesis. Differential effects of long-term breastfeeding by HER-2/neu amplification status have been observed in earlier studies and are provocative; however, the direction and magnitude of the associations have not been consistent.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk