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Int J Cancer. 2012 Feb 15;130(4):921-9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.26071. Epub 2011 May 25.

Prospective study on the role of glucose metabolism in breast cancer occurrence.

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Nutritional Epidemiology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy.


High circulating glucose, insulin resistance and obesity appear to be associated with increased risk of breast cancer (BC). We sought further insight into the relation of these variables to BC. We assessed associations of BC risk with serum fasting glucose, insulin, homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index and sex-binding hormone globulin (SHBG) in women recruited to the ORDET cohort who gave blood samples in 1987-1992. After a median 13.5 years of follow-up, 356 women developed BC. Four matched controls per case were selected by incidence density sampling, and rate ratios (RR) were estimated by conditional logistic regression. Women in the highest glucose quartile had a significantly greater risk of BC than those in the lowest glucose quartile (RR 1.63; 95% CI: 1.14-2.32; p for trend of 0.003). The association was significant in pre and post menopausal women separately and in women diagnosed after 55 years. Women in the highest HOMA-IR quartile had higher BC risk than the lowest quartile (RR 1.44; 95% CI: 1.03-2.02). Significantly increased BC risk in women diagnosed after 55 years was also present in the highest HOMA-IR quartile; in the same group decreased BC risk was significantly associated with high SHBG. The results of this study add to the existing epidemiological evidence that hyperglycemia and insulin resistance increase BC risk.

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