Metabolic syndrome and outcomes following early-stage breast cancer.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Breast cancer research and treatment, Volume 148, Issue 2, p.363-77 (2014)


2014, Epidemiology Core Facility, Shared Resources


The prevalence of risk factors contributing to metabolic syndrome (MetS) is increasing, and numerous components of MetS are associated with increased primary breast cancer (BC) risk. However, less is known about the relationship of MetS to BC outcomes. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether MetS, characterized by increased weight, hypertension, low HDL-cholesterol, high triglycerides, and diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance, is associated with risk of second breast cancer events (SBCE) and BC-specific mortality. Retrospective cohort study of women diagnosed with incident early-stage (I-II) BC between 1990 and 2008, enrolled in an integrated health plan. Outcomes of interest were SBCE, defined as recurrence or second primary BC, and BC-specific mortality. We used multivariable Cox proportional hazards models to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for time-varying exposure to MetS components while accounting for potential confounders and competing risks. Among 4,216 women in the cohort, 26% had ≥3 MetS components and 13% developed SBCE during median follow-up of 6.3 years. Compared to women with no MetS components, presence of MetS (≥3 components) was associated with increased risk of SBCE (HR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.08-2.07) and BC-specific mortality (HR = 1.65, 95% CI 1.02-2.69). Of the individual components, only increased weight was associated with increased risk of SBCE (HR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.06-1.49). MetS is associated with modestly increased risk of SBCE and BC-specific mortality. Given the growing population of BC survivors, further research in larger and more diverse populations is warranted.