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Cancer Res. 2010 Jan 15;70(2):575-87. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-3460. Epub 2010 Jan 12.

Use of four biomarkers to evaluate the risk of breast cancer subtypes in the women's contraceptive and reproductive experiences study.

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  • 1Division of Cancer Etiology, Department of Population Sciences, City of Hope Medical Center, Duarte, California 91010, USA.


Epidemiologic studies suggest that some hormone-related risk factors in breast cancer differentially influence risk for disease subtypes classified by the status of the estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER/PR). However, it remains unclear whether human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) or p53 expression status further differentiates these exposure-risk group associations. We evaluated the associations of oral contraceptive (OC) use and reproductive factors with incident invasive breast cancer subtypes among 1,197 population-based cases and 2,015 controls from the Los Angeles County or Detroit components of the Women's Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences Study. Case-control comparisons by ER/PR/HER2/p53 status were conducted by multivariable polychotomous unconditional logistic regression methods. We found that OC use was not associated with any breast cancer subtype as defined by ER/PR/HER2/p53 status, except for a 2.9-fold increased risk of so-called triple-negative tumors (ER(-)/PR(-)/HER2(-)) among women of 45 to 64 years of age who started OC use before age 18. Parity was associated with a decreased risk of luminal A (ER(+) or PR(+), HER2(-)), luminal B (ER(+) or PR(+)/HER2(+)), and ER(-)/PR(-)/HER2(+) tumors. Age at first full-term pregnancy was positively associated with luminal A tumors among older women. Neither of these reproductive factors was associated with triple-negative tumors. Long duration of breast-feeding lowered the risk of triple-negative and luminal A tumors. p53 status did not define further differential risk patterns. Our findings offer evidence of differences in the hormone-related risk factors between triple-negative cancers and other ER/PR/HER2-defined subtypes of breast cancer.

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