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J Clin Oncol. 1999 Jan;17(1):120-9.

Adjuvant treatment and onset of menopause predict weight gain after breast cancer diagnosis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Weight gain is common during the first year after breast cancer diagnosis. In this study, we examined clinical factors associated with body size at diagnosis and weight gain during the subsequent year.


An inception cohort of 535 women with newly diagnosed locoregional breast cancer underwent anthropometric measurements at baseline and 1 year. Information was collected on tumor- and treatment-related variables, as well as diet and physical activity.


Mean age was 50.3 years; 57% of women were premenopausal. Mean baseline body mass index (weight [kg] divided by height [m] squared) was 25.5 kg/m2. Overall, 84.1% of the patients gained weight. Mean weight gain was 1.6 kg (95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 1.9 kg), 2.5 kg (95% confidence interval, 1.8 to 3.2 kg) in those receiving chemotherapy, 1.3 kg (95% confidence interval, 0.7 to 1.8 kg) in those receiving tamoxifen only, and 0.6 kg (95% confidence interval, 0.01 to 1.3 kg) in those receiving no adjuvant treatment. Menopausal status at diagnosis (P = .02), change in menopausal status over the subsequent year (P = .002), axillary nodal status (P = .009), and adjuvant treatment (P = .0002) predicted weight gain in univariate analysis. In multivariate analysis, onset of menopause and administration of chemotherapy were independent predictors of weight gain (all P < or = .05). Caloric intake decreased (P < .01) and physical activity increased (P < .05) during the year after diagnosis; these factors did not explain the observed weight gain.


Weight gain is common after breast cancer diagnosis; use of adjuvant chemotherapy and onset of menopause are the strongest clinical predictors of this weight gain.

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