NEW YORK (Reuters Health), Jul 28 - A higher body mass index (BMI) is associated with lower survival rates in women with breast cancer, according to a report in the July 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
"We have found strong evidence that high BMI and a recent pregnancy are associated with a poorer prognosis after a diagnosis of breast cancer," Dr. Gillian C. Barnett told Reuters Health. "Our study suggests that advice on weight loss should be given to all obese patients with breast cancer."
Barnett, from Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, U.K., and colleagues investigated the impact of established risk factors for incident breast cancer on overall survival after a diagnosis of breast cancer, using data from the Studies of Epidemiology and Risk Factors in Cancer Heredity.
Women with the highest BMIs were 52% more likely to die than women with the lowest BMIs, the investigators report. BMI is the ratio of weight to height, which is often used to see if a patient's weight is outside normal parameters.
"The Women's Interventional Nutritional Study reported improved event-free survival in women randomly assigned to a reduced-fat diet [associated with weight loss]," Barnett pointed out. "Further definitive clinical weight loss intervention trials in breast cancer populations are required to further clarify the relationship between breast cancer mortality and BMI."
Survival also was significantly worse in women who had four or more full-term pregnancies and in women whose last pregnancy was more recent, the report indicates.
In contrast, the team found that prognosis improved with recent alcohol consumption, with light to moderate drinking reducing the risk of dying by 22%.
"The association between alcohol consumption and improved survival is surprising," Barnett commented. "The results of several other studies have not shown such an association."
By Will Boggs, MD
Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology, July 10, 2008.
Last Updated: 2008-07-25 16:55:50 -0400 (Reuters Health)
Copyright © 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.