Type 2 diabetes associated with risk of aggressive breast cancer in black women

November 15, 2017, Boston University School of Medicine

African American women with type 2 diabetes (often referred to as adult-onset diabetes) are at a greater risk for developing breast cancer.

The findings appear in the journal Cancer Research.

Evidence has emerged in recent years that the two major subtypes of —estrogen receptor positive (ER+) and estrogen receptor negative (ER-) —differ in some causes. Thus, the investigators focused on whether type 2 had differing associations with ER+ and ER- cancer.

The research was based on data of 54,337 African American women enrolled in Boston University's Black Women's Health Study who were cancer free at enrollment in the study in 1995 and were followed for up to 18 years. During follow-up, 914 ER+ cases and 468 ER- cases were identified.

African American women with type 2 diabetes were estimated to have a 43 percent increase in risk of ER- breast cancer relative to women without diabetes; in contrast, there was no increase in the risk of ER+ breast cancer among women with diabetes relative to women without diabetes. The increased risk of ER- breast cancer among women with diabetes was not explained by obesity status.

"While we observed no association for the most common type of breast cancer, the type that is responsive to estrogens, women with diabetes were estimated to be at increased risk of developing estrogen receptor negative breast cancer, a more aggressive type of breast cancer which is twice as common in U.S. black women as in white women," explained corresponding author Julie Palmer, ScD, associate director of Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center, professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health, and associate director for population sciences at the BU-BMC Cancer Center.

According to Palmer plausible explanations for an increased risk of ER- breast cancer among women with diabetes include chronic inflammation resulting from diabetes which, among other actions, can promote carcinogenic processes. "Given that the prevalence of diabetes is twice as high in African Americans as in whites, the current finding, if confirmed, may help to explain the higher incidence of ER- breast cancer in African American ."

Explore further: Pregnancy poses no greater risk to breast cancer survivors

Related Stories

Pregnancy poses no greater risk to breast cancer survivors

October 26, 2017
A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute indicates that pregnancy does not incur a greater risk of relapse for survivors of breast cancer. The safety of pregnancy for women with history of ...

Childbearing may increase risk of hormone receptor-negative breast cancer in African-American women

August 16, 2011
African-American women are at higher risk for hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, one of the most difficult subtypes to treat, but this risk could be ameliorated somewhat by breast-feeding their children.

Researchers identify breast cancer risk factors for younger, black women

October 19, 2016
Black women under the age of 45 are at increased risk for an aggressive form of breast cancer [estrogen receptor (ER) negative] if they experienced a high number of pregnancies, never breast fed, and/or had higher waist-to-hip ...

Breast cancer risk reduced in women with diabetes who take low-dose aspirin

June 8, 2017
A new study of nearly 149,000 women with diabetes over 14 years showed an overall 18% reduced breast cancer risk for women who used low-dose aspirin compared to those who did not. The study design and results are published ...

Lactation linked to reduced estrogen receptor-negative, triple-negative breast cancer risk

September 16, 2014
Women who have had children (parous women) appear to have an increased risk of developing estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, the subtype that carries a higher mortality rate and is more common in women of African ancestry. ...

Female hormone supplements with estrogen and progestin linked to breast cancer risk

November 30, 2015
Postmenopausal African American women who use female hormone supplements containing estrogen and progestin ("combination" therapy) are at an increased risk for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.

Recommended for you

Scientists discover how breast cancer hibernates: study

May 22, 2018
Scientists have identified the mechanism that allows breast cancer cells to lie dormant in other parts of the body only to reemerge years later with lethal force, according to a study published Tuesday.

Researcher: Big data, networks identify cell signaling pathways in lung cancer

May 22, 2018
A team of scientists led by University of Montana cell biologist Mark Grimes has identified networks inside lung cancer cells that will help understand this cancer and fight it with drug treatments.

Resetting the epigenetic balance for cancer therapy

May 22, 2018
Though mutations in a gene called MLL3 are common across many types of cancers, their relationship to the development of the disease has been unclear. Now, a Northwestern Medicine study has identified an epigenetic imbalance ...

Downward-facing mouse: Stretching reduces tumor growth in mouse model of breast cancer

May 22, 2018
Many cancer patients seek out gentle, movement-based stretching techniques such as yoga, tai chi and qigong, but does stretching have an effect on cancer? While many animal studies have attempted to quantify the effects of ...

Compound in citrus oil could reduce dry mouth in head, neck cancer patients

May 21, 2018
A compound found in citrus oils could help alleviate dry mouth caused by radiation therapy in head and neck cancer patients, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Ice cream funds research showing new strategy against thyroid cancer

May 21, 2018
Anaplastic thyroid cancer is almost uniformly fatal, with an average lifespan of about 5 months after diagnosis. And standard treatment for the condition includes 7 weeks of radiation, often along with chemotherapy.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.