Circulatory Estrogen Level Protects Against Breast Cancer in Obese Women

Zsuzsanna Suba
  • Recent Patents on Anti-Cancer Drug Discovery, February 2013, Bentham Science Publishers
  • DOI: 10.2174/1574892811308020004

Obesity is a cancer risk factor in both young and older women.

What is it about?

Apparently Janus-faced ambiguous interaction between obesity and breast cancer risk depending on the menopausal status of women is based on misunderstandings. In young women, obesity associated insulin resistance is usually moderate and may be counteracted by their defensive serum estrogen level. It is not obesity but rather the sufficient estrogen level, which reduces the breast cancer risk in obese young females. By contrast, obesity in hormonally challenged older women is higher risk.

Why is it important?

Among young women, not only obesity but rather the hormonal and metabolic imbalances mean high risk for breast cancer, which occurs even in lean patients. Young women with PCOS or BRCA gene mutations may exhibit high risk for breast cancer, although they are not obese.


professor Zsuzsanna Suba
National Institute of Oncology Budapest

The revealed inverse correlation between circulating estrogen level and breast cancer risk in obese women should advance our understanding of breast cancer etiology and promotes primary prevention measures.

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The following have contributed to this page: professor Zsuzsanna Suba