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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Lifetime personal cigarette smoking and risk of young-onset breast cancer by subtype among non-Hispanic Black and White women in the Young Women's Health History Study



To evaluate the association between lifetime personal cigarette smoking and young-onset breast cancer (YOBC; diagnosed <50 years of age) risk overall and by breast cancer (BC) subtype, and whether risk varies by race or socioeconomic position (SEP).


Data are from the Young Women's Health History Study (YWHHS), a population-based case-control study of non-Hispanic Black (NHB) and White (NHW) women, ages 20-49 years (n = 1812 cases, n = 1381 controls) in the Los Angeles County and Metropolitan Detroit Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry areas, 2010-2015. Lifetime personal cigarette smoking characteristics and YOBC risk by subtype were examined using sample-weighted, multivariable-adjusted polytomous logistic regression.


YOBC risk associated with ever versus never smoking differed by subtype (Pheterogeneity = 0.01) with risk significantly increased for Luminal A (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.34; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-1.68) and HER2-type (aOR 1.97; 95% CI 1.23-3.16), and no association with Luminal B or Triple Negative subtypes. Additionally, ≥30 years since smoking initiation (versus never) was statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of Luminal A (aOR 1.55; 95% CI 1.07-2.26) and HER2-type YOBC (aOR 2.77; 95% CI 1.32-5.79), but not other subtypes. In addition, among parous women, smoking initiated before first full-term pregnancy (versus never) was significantly associated with an increased risk of Luminal A YOBC (aOR 1.45; 95% CI 1.11-1.89). We observed little evidence for interactions by race and SEP.


Findings confirm prior reports of a positive association between cigarette smoking and Luminal A YOBC and identify a novel association between smoking and HER2-type YOBC.

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