Preeclampsia and breast cancer: The influence of birth characteristics

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BACKGROUND: In parous women preeclampsia has been associated with reduced risk of developing breast cancer. Characteristics of births following preeclamptic pregnancies may help understand mechanisms involved in the breast cancer risk reduction inferred by preeclampsia.

METHODS: We conducted a register-based cohort study of all Danish women giving birth during 1978-2010 (n = 778,701). The association between preeclampsia and breast cancer was evaluated overall and according to birth characteristics by means of incidence rate ratios (IRR) estimated in Poisson regression models.

RESULTS: Compared with women with non-preeclamptic pregnancies only, women with one or more preeclamptic pregnancies were 19% significantly less likely to develop breast cancer (IRR = 0.81 [95% CI 0.72-0.93]). We found some indication of greater risk reduction in women with term births, one or more previous births, and in women giving birth to boys. These findings, however, did not reach statistical significance. Finally, risk reduction was slightly greater following milder forms of preeclampsia.

CONCLUSION: Our data is compatible with an approximately 20% reduction in risk of developing breast cancer following preeclampsia. Although we find some variability according to birth characteristics, the risk reduction inferred by preeclampsia seems applicable to most preeclamptic pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBreast (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)613-617
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

ID: 161061977