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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Sep 18;105(18):1373-84. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djt206.

Risk factors for inflammatory breast cancer and other invasive breast cancers.

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Affiliations of authors: Joint Program for Survey Methodology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD (YL); Group Health Research Institute, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, WA (PF, RDW, DSMB, DLM); Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD (CS, BIG, WFA); Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology/Biostatistics University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA (KK); Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH (TLO); Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Davis, CA (DLM).



We investigated risk factors for inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a rare, aggressive, and poorly understood breast cancer that is characterized by diffuse breast skin erythema and edema.


We included 617 IBC case subjects in a nested case-control study from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium database (1994-2009). We also included 1151 noninflammatory, locally advanced, invasive breast cancers with chest wall/breast skin involvement (LABC), 7600 noninflammatory invasive case subjects without chest wall/breast skin involvement (BC), and 93 654 control subjects matched to case subjects on age and year at diagnosis and mammography registry. We present estimates of rate ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) from conditional logistic regression analyses for each case group vs control subjects based on multiply imputed datasets.


First-degree family history of breast cancer and high mammographic breast density increased risk of IBC, LABC, and BC. High body mass index (BMI) increased IBC risk irrespective of menopausal status and estrogen receptor (ER) expression; rate ratios for BMI 30 and greater vs BMI less than 25 were 3.90 (95% CI = 1.50 to 10.14) in premenopausal women and 3.70 (95% CI = 1.98 to 6.94) in peri/postmenopausal women not currently using hormones. BMI 30 and greater slightly increased risk of ER-positive BC (RR = 1.40; 95% CI = 1.11 to 1.76). Statistically significant reductions in risk of ER-negative IBC with older age at first birth and of ER-positive IBC with higher education were not seen for LABC and BC of the same ER status.


Different associations with BMI, age at first birth, and education between IBC and/or LABC and BC suggest a distinct etiology for IBC.

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