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Int J Cancer. 1995 Jul 17;62(2):162-4.

Multiple births and risk of breast cancer.

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University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, Madison, USA.


Data from a large, multicenter, population-based case-control study were analyzed to investigate the relation between multiple birth pregnancies and subsequent breast-cancer risk in the gravidas. Women less than 75 years old who had breast cancer were identified from statewide tumor registries in Wisconsin, western Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. Controls aged less than 65 years were selected randomly from lists of licensed drivers, and controls aged between 65 and 74 were selected randomly from lists of Medicare beneficiaries. Information on reproductive history and other factors was obtained by means of telephone interviews. After excluding nulliparous women, 5,880 case subjects and 8,217 controls remained for analysis. Multiple birth pregnancies occurred in 146 cases and 218 controls. Adjusted for the number of full-term pregnancies and other confounders, the odds ratio (OR) for any multiple birth pregnancy was 0.94 (95% confidence interval, 0.75 to 1.17). The null association between multiple birth pregnancies and breast cancer remained if the mother's first pregnancy or last pregnancy resulted in a multiple birth. In addition, no trend in risk emerged for age at first multiple birth or time since last multiple birth. While other investigators have suggested biological mechanisms to explain both protective and detrimental effects of multiple births and subsequent development of breast cancer, this study does not support either assertion.

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