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

November 15, 2017

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

Encouraging oxygen's assault on iron may offer new way to kill lung cancer cells

November 22, 2017
Blocking the action of a key protein frees oxygen to damage iron-dependent proteins in lung and breast cancer cells, slowing their growth and making them easier to kill. This is the implication of a study led by researchers ...

One in four U.S. seniors with cancer has had it before

November 22, 2017
(HealthDay)—For a quarter of American seniors, a cancer diagnosis signals the return of an old foe, new research shows.

Combination immunotherapy targets cancer resistance

November 22, 2017
Cancer immunotherapy drugs have had notable but limited success because in many cases, tumors develop resistance to treatment. But researchers at Yale and Stanford have identified an experimental antibody that overcomes this ...

Researchers discover specific tumor environment that triggers cells to metastasize

November 21, 2017
A team of bioengineers and bioinformaticians at the University of California San Diego have discovered how the environment surrounding a tumor can trigger metastatic behavior in cancer cells. Specifically, when tumor cells ...

New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young

November 21, 2017
After years of rigorous research, a team of scientists has identified the genetic engine that drives a rare form of liver cancer. The findings offer prime targets for drugs to treat the usually lethal disease, fibrolamellar ...

Clinical trial suggests new cell therapy for relapsed leukemia patients

November 20, 2017
A significant proportion of children and young adults with treatment-resistant B-cell leukemia who participated in a small study achieved remission with the help of a new form of gene therapy, according to researchers at ...

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.