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Ann Intern Med. 1990 Feb 1;112(3):182-6.

Abdominal obesity and breast cancer risk.

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  • 1H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida.

Erratum in

  • Ann Intern Med 1990 May 15;112(10):798.



To determine if body fat distribution affects breast cancer risk.


Prospective case-control study.


The anthropometric measurements of 216 consecutively and newly diagnosed women with invasive carcinoma of the breast were compared with those of 432 age-matched controls. The anthropometric measurements taken were abdomen, thigh, suprailiac, biceps, triceps, subscapular, and midaxillary skinfolds; waist and hip circumference; and weight and height. Women between 25 and 83 years of age were included in the study.


Patients with breast cancer had a significantly greater waist:hip circumference ratio than controls (P less than 0.001) and a significantly greater suprailiac:thigh skinfold ratio (P less than 0.001). The relative risk for breast cancer increased with increasing waist:hip circumference ratio (less than 0.73 = 1.00; 0.73 to 76 = 1.90; 0.77 to 0.80 = 2.83; greater than 0.80 = 6.46) and with suprailiac:thigh skinfold ratio (less than 0.42 = 1.00; 0.42 to 0.56 = 1.85; 0.57 to 0.71 = 2.25; greater than 0.71 = 5.85). At other sites of upper body obesity, such as the biceps and triceps, skinfolds were significantly greater in patients with breast cancer.


Although obese women are at slightly higher risk for developing breast cancer, women with android obesity are a segment of obese women who appear to be at a significantly higher risk for developing breast cancer.

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