TitleBody Mass Index Is Inversely Associated with Risk of Postmenopausal Interval Breast Cancer: Results from the Women's Health Initiative.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsZhang, Z, Curran, G, Shannon, J, Velie, EM, Irvin, VL, Manson, JAE, Simon, MS, Dindar, DAltinok, Pyle, C, Schedin, P, Tabung, FK
JournalCancers (Basel)
Date Published06/2022

Simple Summary

Breast cancer diagnosed between a negative screening mammogram and the next regularly scheduled mammographic exam is called interval breast cancer. It is often diagnosed at more advanced stages than screening-detected cancers. While body mass index (BMI) is a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer overall and can influence the accuracy of mammography, the association of BMI with postmenopausal interval breast cancer is unclear. Using data from the Women’s Health Initiative, a national study among postmenopausal women, we found that lower BMI was significantly associated with a higher risk of interval breast cancers diagnosed within 1 year of a negative mammogram after adjustment for multiple risk factors. These findings suggest that obesity is associated with a lower risk of postmenopausal interval breast cancer. Future research using body composition measures is warranted to confirm our findings.


Interval breast cancer refers to cancer diagnosed after a negative screening mammogram and before the next scheduled screening mammogram. Interval breast cancer has worse prognosis than screening-detected cancer. Body mass index (BMI) influences the accuracy of mammography and overall postmenopausal breast cancer risk, yet how is obesity associated with postmenopausal interval breast cancer incidence is unclear. The current study included cancer-free postmenopausal women aged 50-79 years at enrollment in the Women's Health Initiative who were diagnosed with breast cancer during follow-up. Analyses include 324 interval breast cancer cases diagnosed within one year after the participant's last negative screening mammogram and 1969 screening-detected breast cancer patients. Obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m) was measured at baseline. Associations between obesity and incidence of interval cancer were determined by sequential logistic regression analyses. In multivariable-adjusted models, obesity was inversely associated with interval breast cancer risk [OR (95% CI) = 0.65 (0.46, 0.92)]. The inverse association persisted after excluding women diagnosed within 2 years [OR (95% CI) = 0.60 (0.42, 0.87)] or 4 years [OR (95% CI) = 0.56 (0.37, 0.86)] of enrollment, suggesting consistency of the association regardless of screening practices prior to trial entry. These findings warrant confirmation in studies with body composition measures.

Alternate JournalCancers (Basel)
PubMed ID35804998
PubMed Central IDPMC9264843
Grant ListK12HD043488 / NH / NIH HHS / United States