Breast Cancer More Likely In Overweight Women

Women who are overweight have a greater risk of developing breast cancer according to a recent American study published in the British Journal of Cancer.

The study, conducted by several scientists of the Hormel Institute at the University of Minnesota found that people with lower levels of a protein hormone known as adiponectin or Acrp30 were much more likely to develop breast cancer.

In the past, it has been shown that overweight people tend to have lower levels of the hormone, and that Acrp30 levels increase as a person loses weight. This new study, which shows the relationship between Acrp30 and breast cancer, indicates a direct link between weight and the risk of developing breast cancer.

The research also found that the balance between adiponectin and the growth factor leptin can determine the behavior of breast cancer. High levels of leptin and estrogen can encourage aggressive tumor growth, particularly when combined with low levels of adiponectin.

According to Professor Margot Cleary, who lead the research team “Our findings indicate that adiponectin, which is released from fat tissue, may protect against estrogen receptor positive tumor development when levels are high. It’s also likely that a balance between leptin and Acrp30 determines whether a tumor increases or decreases in size.”

Other studies have also linked obesity with poorer breast cancer outcomes. A 2005 study, available here, found that among obese women, breast cancer was 57% more likely to recur, and the women were 56% more likely to die during follow-up, than non-obese women diagnosed with breast cancer.