Breast cancer risk increases when overweight

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Increased risk of breast cancer in overweight

Obesity worsens the prognosis for breast cancer. Relapses are more common and the death rate is higher than that of women of normal weight. Now a team of researchers has discovered that this is only the case with hormone receptor-positive tumors.

Doctors from the Montefiore Medical Center in New York evaluated three studies. They wanted to know whether overweight has a different impact on the disease depending on the type of breast cancer.

One of the studies involved 4770 women, one third of whom were normal weight, overweight and obese. 73 percent had hormone receptor-positive tumors, 20 percent had HER-2 / neu-positive tumors. All were operated on and treated with standard adjuvant chemotherapy.

Disease-free survival was 24 percent for obese women, and overall survival was 37 percent lower than for women with a BMI under 30. In contrast, obese women with triple-negative tumor status or HER-2 / new-positive tumors had no disadvantage compared to normal - and overweight patients.

These results were confirmed by one of the other two studies. The third study, in which 613 women with hormone receptor negative status took part, showed that the obese patients live longer. In contrast to those of the other two studies, these results were not statistically significant. So it cannot be concluded that extreme obesity is beneficial when the hormone receptor is negative. (BdH)

Image: S. Hofschlaeger /

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