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1.  Recreational physical activity and risk of papillary thyroid cancer among women in the California Teachers Study 
Cancer epidemiology  2012;37(1):46-53.
Little is known about the relationship between physical activity and thyroid cancer risk, and few cohort data on this association exist. Thus, the present study aimed to prospectively examine long-term activity and risk of papillary thyroid cancer among women.
116,939 women in the California Teachers Study, aged 22 to 79 years with no history of thyroid cancer at cohort entry, were followed from 1995-1996 through 2009; 275 were diagnosed with invasive papillary thyroid cancer. Cox proportional-hazards regression provided relative risk (RR) estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for associations between thyroid cancer and combined strenuous and moderate recreational physical activity both in the long-term (high school through age 54 years or current age if younger than 54 years) and recently (during the three years prior to joining the cohort).
Overall, women whose long-term recreational physical activity averaged at least 5.5 MET-hours/week (i.e. were active) had a non-significant 23% lower risk of papillary thyroid cancer than inactive women (RR=0.77, 95% CI: 0.57, 1.04). RR estimates were stronger among normal weight or underweight women (body mass index, BMI<25.0 kg/m2, trend p=0.03) than among overweight or obese women (trend p=0.35; homogeneity-of-trends p=0.03). A similar pattern of risk was observed for recent activity (BMI<25 kg/m2, trend p=0.11; BMI≥25 kg/m2, trend p=0.16; homogeneity-of-trends p=0.04). Associations for long-term activity did not appear to be driven by activity in any particular life period (e.g. youth, adulthood).
Long-term physical activity may reduce papillary thyroid cancer risk among normal weight and underweight women.
PMCID: PMC3543486  PMID: 23116823
Physical activity; thyroid cancer; cancer prevention; women; overweight/obesity; Body Mass Index
2.  Quantitative measures of estrogen receptor expression in relation to breast cancer-specific mortality risk among white women and black women 
The association of breast cancer patients’ mortality with estrogen receptor (ER) status (ER + versus ER-) has been well studied. However, little attention has been paid to the relationship between the quantitative measures of ER expression and mortality.
We evaluated the association between semi-quantitative, immunohistochemical staining of ER in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded breast carcinomas and breast cancer-specific mortality risk in an observational cohort of invasive breast cancer in 681 white women and 523 black women ages 35-64 years at first diagnosis of invasive breast cancer, who were followed for a median of 10 years. The quantitative measures of ER examined here included the percentage of tumor cell nuclei positively stained for ER, ER Histo (H)-score, and a score based on an adaptation of an equation presented by Cuzick and colleagues, which combines weighted values of ER H-score, percentage of tumor cell nuclei positively stained for the progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) results. This is referred to as the ER/PR/HER2 score.
After controlling for age at diagnosis, race, study site, tumor stage, and histologic grade in multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models, both percentage of tumor cell nuclei positively stained for ER (Ptrend = 0.0003) and the ER H-score (Ptrend = 0.0004) were inversely associated with breast cancer-specific mortality risk. The ER/PR/HER2 score was positively associated with breast cancer-specific mortality risk in women with ER + tumor (Ptrend = 0.001). Analyses by race revealed that ER positivity was associated with reduced risk of breast cancer-specific mortality in white women and black women. The two quantitative measures for ER alone provided additional discrimination in breast cancer-specific mortality risk only among white women with ER + tumors (both Ptrend ≤ 0.01) while the ER/PR/HER2 score provided additional discrimination for both white women (Ptrend = 0.01) and black women (Ptrend = 0.03) with ER + tumors.
Our data support quantitative immunohistochemical measures of ER, especially the ER/PR/HER2 score, as a more precise predictor for breast cancer-specific mortality risk than a simple determination of ER positivity.
PMCID: PMC3978823  PMID: 24070170
3.  Breast Cancer Receptor Status: Do Results from a Centralized Pathology Laboratory Agree with SEER Registry Reports? 
We investigated the extent to which estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) status results from a centralized pathology laboratory agree with ER and PR results from community pathology laboratories reported to two Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registries (Los Angeles County and Detroit) and whether statistical estimates for the association between reproductive factors and breast cancer receptor subtypes differ by the source of data. The agreement between the centralized laboratory and SEER registry classifications was substantial for ER (κ = 0.70) and nearly so for PR status (κ = 0.60). Among the four subtypes defined by joint ER and PR status, the agreement between the two sources was substantial for the two major breast cancer subtypes (ER−/PR−, κ = 0.69; ER+/PR+, κ = 0.62) and poor for the two rarer subtypes (ER+/PR−, κ = 0.30; ER−/PR+, κ = 0.05). Estimates for the association between reproductive factors (number of full-term pregnancies, age at first full-term pregnancy, and duration of breastfeeding) and the two major subtypes (ER+/PR+ and ER−/PR−) differed minimally between the two sources of data. For example, parous women with at least four full-term pregnancies had 40% lower risk for ER+/PR+ breast cancer than women who had never been pregnant [centralized laboratory, odds ratio, 0.60 (95% confidence interval, 0.39–0.92); SEER, odds ratio, 0.57 (95% confidence interval, 0.38–0.85)]; no association was observed for ER−/PR− breast cancer (both Ptrend > 0.30). Our results suggest that conclusions based on SEER registry data are reasonably reliable for ER+/PR+ and ER−/PR− subtypes.
PMCID: PMC3782852  PMID: 19661080
5.  Bilateral oophorectomy is not associated with increased mortality: the California Teachers Study 
Fertility and sterility  2011;97(1):111-117.
To investigate the effect of surgical menopause due to bilateral oophorectomy on mortality, in light of evidence that bilateral oophorectomy among premenopausal women rapidly reduces endogenous hormone levels thereby modifying risks of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.
The California Teachers Study (CTS) is a prospective cohort study of 133,479 women initiated in 1995–1996 through a mailed, self-administered questionnaire. Relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression.
CTS participants who, at baseline, reported having surgical menopause due to bilateral oophorectomy (n=9,785), were compared to participants with natural menopause (n=32,219).
Main outcome measures
We investigated whether bilateral oophorectomy was associated with all-cause, cardiovascular, or cancer mortality, overall and by menopausal hormone therapy (HT) use status.
Among participants younger than 45 years of age at menopause, multivariable relative risks were 0.86 (95% CI, 0.74–1.00), 0.85 (95% CI, 0.66–1.11) and 0.91 (95% CI, 0.67–1.23) for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality and cancer mortality, respectively. Among participants with an age at menopause of 45 years or later, multivariable relative risks were 0.87 (95% CI, 0.80–0.94), 0.83 (95% CI, 0.71–0.96) and 0.84 (95% CI, 0.72–0.98) for all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, respectively. The association between bilateral oophorectomy and mortality did not differ by baseline status of HT use.
Surgical menopause due to bilateral oophorectomy vs. natural menopause does not increase all-cause, cardiovascular, or cancer mortality.
PMCID: PMC3245786  PMID: 22088205
surgical menopause and mortality; bilateral oophorectomy; mortality; California Teachers Study
6.  Obesity and Survival Among Black Women and White Women 35 to 64 Years of Age at Diagnosis With Invasive Breast Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(25):3358-3365.
To evaluate the effect of obesity on survival among black women and white women with invasive breast cancer and to determine whether obesity explains the poorer survival of black women relative to white women.
Patients and Methods
We observed 4,538 (1,604 black, 2,934 white) women who were 35 to 64 years of age when diagnosed with incident invasive breast cancer between 1994 and 1998. Multivariate Cox regression models were used to examine the effect of body mass index (BMI, in kilograms per square meter) 5 years before diagnosis on risk of death from any cause and from breast cancer.
During a median of 8.6 years of follow-up, 1,053 women died (519 black, 534 white), 828 as a result of breast cancer (412 black, 416 white). Black women were more likely to die than white women (multivariate-adjusted relative risk [RR], 1.33; 95% CI, 1.16 to 1.53). Compared with women with BMI of 20 to 24.9 kg/m2, those who were obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) had a greater risk of all-cause mortality (RR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.04 to 1.47) and breast cancer–specific mortality (RR, 1.20; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.46). These associations were observed among white women (all-cause RR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.21 to 1.96; breast cancer RR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.92), but not among black women (all-cause RR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.81 to 1.29; breast cancer RR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.79 to 1.33).
Obesity may play an important role in mortality among white but not black patients with breast cancer. It is unlikely that differences in obesity distributions between black women and white women account for the poorer survival of black women.
PMCID: PMC3164241  PMID: 21788570
7.  Cigarette Smoking, Passive Smoking, and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk: Evidence From the California Teachers Study 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2011;174(5):563-573.
Epidemiologic studies conducted to date have shown evidence of a causal relation between smoking and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) risk. However, previous studies did not account for passive smoking exposure in the never-smoking reference group. The California Teachers Study collected information about lifetime smoking and household passive smoking exposure in 1995 and about lifetime exposure to passive smoking in 3 settings (household, workplace, and social settings) in 1997–1998. Multivariable-adjusted relative risks and 95% confidence intervals were estimated by fitting Cox proportional hazards models with follow-up through 2007. Compared with never smokers, ever smokers had a 1.11-fold (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.94, 1.30) higher NHL risk that increased to a 1.22-fold (95% CI: 0.95, 1.57) higher risk when women with household passive smoking were excluded from the reference category. Statistically significant dose responses were observed for lifetime cumulative smoking exposure (intensity and pack-years; both P ’s for trend = 0.02) when women with household passive smoking were excluded from the reference category. Among never smokers, NHL risk increased with increasing lifetime exposure to passive smoking (relative risk = 1.51 (95% CI: 1.03, 2.22) for >40 years vs. ≤5 years of passive smoking; P for trend = 0.03), particularly for follicular lymphoma (relative risk = 2.89 (95% CI: 1.23, 6.80); P for trend = 0.01). The present study provides evidence that smoking and passive smoking may influence NHL etiology, particularly for follicular lymphoma.
PMCID: PMC3202153  PMID: 21768403
cohort studies; lymphoma, non-Hodgkin; smoking; tobacco smoke pollution
8.  Oral contraceptives, menopausal hormone therapy use and risk of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the California Teachers Study 
We examined oral contraceptive (OC) and menopausal hormonal therapy (MHT) use in relation to risk of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Women under age 85 years participating in the California Teachers Study with no history of hematopoietic cancer were followed from 1995 through 2007. 516 of 114,131 women eligible for OC use analysis and 402 of 54,758 postmenopausal women eligible for MHT use analysis developed B-cell NHL. Multivariable adjusted and stratified Cox proportional hazards models were fit to estimate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Ever versus never OC use was marginally associated with lower B-cell NHL risk, particularly among women first using OCs before age 25 years (RR=0.72, 95%CI=0.51-0.99); yet, no duration-response effect was observed. No association was observed for ever versus never MHT use among postmenopausal women (RR=1.05, 95%CI=0.83-1.33) overall, or by formulation (estrogen alone, ET, or estrogen plus progestin, EPT). Among women with no MHT use, having bilateral oophorectomy plus hysterectomy was associated with greater B-cell NHL risk than having natural menopause (RR=3.15, 95%CI=1.62-6.13). Bilateral oophorectomy plus hysterectomy was not associated with risk among women who used ET or EPT. These results indicate that exogenous hormone use does not strongly influence B-cell NHL risk.
PMCID: PMC3258672  PMID: 20957632
non-Hodgkin lymphoma; oral contraceptives; menopausal hormonal therapy; hysterectomy; bilateral oophorectomy
9.  Oral contraceptive use and survival in women with invasive breast cancer 
Oral contraceptives (OCs) are widely used in the U.S. Although the relation between OC use and breast cancer incidence has been widely studied, the few studies examining associations between OC use prior to breast cancer diagnosis and survival are inconsistent.
Women with invasive breast cancer participating in the Women's Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences (CARE) Study, a population-based case-control study (4565 women ages 35–64 years), and the California Teachers Study (CTS) cohort (3929 women ages 28–91 years) were followed for vital status. 1064 women died in the CARE Study (median follow-up, 8.6 years) and 523 died in the CTS (median follow-up, 6.1 years). Cox proportional hazards regression provided hazard rate ratio estimates (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for risk of death from any cause and from breast cancer.
No association was observed for any OC use prior to diagnosis and all-cause mortality (CARE Study: RR=1.01 (95% CI=0.86–1.19); CTS: RR=0.84 (95% CI=0.67–1.05)). A decreased risk of all-cause mortality was observed in the CTS among women with more than 10 years of OC use (RR=0.67, 95% CI=0.47–0.96); however, no trend of decreasing risk with increasing OC duration was observed (P-trend=0.22), and no association was observed in the CARE study. No associations were observed for breast cancer-specific mortality.
OC use is not associated with all-cause or breast cancer-specific mortality among women with invasive breast cancer.
These two independent studies demonstrated no overall association between OC use and survival among women with breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3132273  PMID: 21551244
Oral contraceptives; breast cancer; survival; risk assessment
10.  Lower Risk in Parous Women Suggests Hormonal Factors Important in Bladder Cancer Etiology 
Urinary bladder cancer is two-to-four times more common among men than women, a difference in risk not fully explained by established risk factors. Our objective was to determine whether hormonal and reproductive factors are involved in female bladder cancer.
We analyzed data from two population-based studies: the Los Angeles-Shanghai Bladder Cancer Study, with 349 female case-control pairs enrolled in Los Angeles and 131 female cases and 138 frequency-matched controls enrolled in Shanghai; and the California Teachers Study (CTS), a cohort of 120,857 women with 196 incident cases of bladder urothelial carcinoma diagnosed between 1995 and 2005. We also conducted a meta-analysis summarizing associations from our primary analyses together with published results.
In primary data analyses, parous women experienced at least 30% reduced risk of bladder cancer compared with nulliparous women (Shanghai: OR=0.38, 95%CI: 0.13–1.10; CTS: RR=0.69, 95%CI: 0.50–0.95) consistent with results of a meta-analysis of nine studies (summary RR=0.73, 95%CI: 0.63–0.85). The CTS, which queried formulation of menopausal hormone therapy (HT), revealed a protective effect for use of combined estrogen and progestin compared with no HT (RR=0.60, 95%CI: 0.37–0.98). Meta-analysis of three studies provided a similar effect estimate (summaryRR=0.65, 95%CI: 0.48–0.88).
A consistent pattern of reduced bladder cancer risk was found among parous women and those who used estrogen and progestin for HT.
These results suggest that more research is warranted to investigate hormonal and reproductive factors as possible contributors to bladder cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3312020  PMID: 21493870
urothelial carcinoma; parity; pregnancy; progestin; estrogen
11.  Does Hormone Therapy Counter the Beneficial Effects of Physical Activity on Breast Cancer Risk in Postmenopausal Women? 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2011;22(3):515-522.
Studies consistently demonstrate that physical activity is inversely associated with postmenopausal breast cancer. Whether this association is stronger among non-hormone users or former users of menopausal hormone therapy (HT) is of interest given the marked decline in HT use since 2002.
The Women’s Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences Study, a population-based case-control study of invasive breast cancer, recruited white women and black women ages 35–64 years, and collected histories of lifetime recreational physical activity and HT use including estrogen-alone therapy (ET) and estrogen plus progestin therapy (EPT).
Among postmenopausal women (1908 cases, 2013 control participants), breast cancer risk declined with increasing levels of lifetime physical activity among never HT users; among short-term HT users (fewer than 5 years); and current ET users; Ptrend values ranged from 0.004 to 0.016. In contrast, physical activity had no significant association with risk among long-term and past HT users and among current EPT users. No statistical evidence of heterogeneity was demonstrated for duration or currency of HT use.
Breast cancer risk decreases with increasing lifetime physical activity levels among postmenopausal women who have not used HT, have used HT for less than 5 years, or are current ET users yet this study was unable to demonstrate statistically that HT use modifies the relationship between physical activity and breast cancer. With profound changes in HT use occurring since 2002, it will be important in future studies to learn whether or not any association between physical activity and breast cancer among former HT users is a function of time since last HT use.
PMCID: PMC3229264  PMID: 21213036
Hormone therapy; physical activity; breast cancer
Results from studies examining the association between hormone therapy (HT) and lung cancer risk disagree.
We examined the associations between HT use and lung cancer risk among 60,592 postmenopausal women enrolled in the prospective California Teachers Study cohort. Between 1995 and 2007, 727 women were diagnosed with lung cancer. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models were fit using age as the time metric.
No measure of HT use was associated with lung cancer risk (all p-values for trend≥0.4). In addition, no variations in risk by smoking status (never, ever, former, current), type of HT (E-alone, E+P use), type of menopause, or lung cancer histology were observed.
Our findings do not support an association between HT and lung cancer.
This large-scale, prospective study, which capitalizes on the detailed hormone use, smoking history, and type of menopause information available within this unique cohort, was unable to find any association between intake of HT and lung cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3065239  PMID: 21266521
13.  Age-specific effects of hormone therapy use on overall mortality and ischemic heart disease mortality among women in the California Teachers Study 
Menopause (New York, N.y.)  2011;18(3):253-261.
Although the Women’s Health Initiative trial (WHI) suggested that menopausal hormone therapy (HT) does not reduce coronary heart disease mortality overall, subsequent results have suggested that there may be a benefit in younger women. The California Teachers Cohort Study (CTS) questionnaire and mortality data was used to examine whether age modified the association between HT and the relative risk of overall mortality and ischemic heart disease (IHD) deaths.
Participants from the CTS were 71,237 postmenopausal women (mean age = 63, range 36 to 94 years) followed prospectively for mortality and other outcomes from 1995–1996 through 2004.
Age at baseline was a much more important modifier of HT effects than age at start of therapy. Risks for all-cause mortality (n=8,399) were lower for younger current HT users at baseline than for never users (for women ≤60 years: HR=0.54, 95% CI=0.46–0.62). These risk reductions greatly diminished, in a roughly linear fashion, with increasing baseline age (for women 85–94 years HR=0.94, 95% CI=0.81–1.10 for all-cause mortality). Similar results were seen for IHD deaths (n=1,464). No additional significant modifying effects of age at first use, duration of use, or formulation were apparent.
These results provide evidence that reduced risks of mortality associated with HT use are observed among younger users but not for older postmenopausal women even those starting therapy close to their time of menopause.
PMCID: PMC3253313  PMID: 20881652
Overall mortality; heart disease; menopausal hormone therapy; risk; survival; age
14.  Breast Cancer Risk and Ovariectomy, Hysterectomy, and Tubal Sterilization in the Women's Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences Study 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2010;173(1):38-47.
Removal or impairment of ovaries before menopause may affect a woman's breast cancer risk by altering her cumulative exposure to ovarian hormones. The Women's Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences Study, a population-based, multicenter case-control study of incident invasive breast cancer, recruited women aged 35–64 years (4,490 cases and 4,611 controls) who provided data on ovariectomy, hysterectomy, and tubal sterilization during in-person interviews. Controls were frequency-matched to cases by age, race, and study site. Unconditional logistic regression analysis was used. Women who had not undergone premenopausal reproductive surgery were the referent group. Bilateral ovariectomy was associated with reduced breast cancer risk overall (odds ratio (OR) = 0.59, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.50, 0.69) and among women <45 years of age (ORs ranged from 0.31 to 0.52), but not among those who were older at surgery. It was also associated with a reduced risk for estrogen and progesterone receptor–positive tumors (OR = 0.63, 95% CI: 0.52, 0.75) but not receptor-negative tumors. Hysterectomy with ovarian conservation (OR = 0.83, 95% CI: 0.72, 0.96) and hysterectomy with partial ovary removal (OR = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.59, 0.91) were also associated with lower risk. No association with breast cancer risk was observed with tubal sterilization only or partial ovariectomy without hysterectomy. Reproductive organ surgeries may alter ovarian hormone levels, thereby affecting breast cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3025644  PMID: 21109566
breast neoplasms; case-control studies; hysterectomy; ovariectomy; sterilization, tubal
15.  Estrogenic botanical supplements, health-related quality of life, fatigue, and hormone-related symptoms in breast cancer survivors: a HEAL study report 
It remains unclear whether estrogenic botanical supplement (EBS) use influences breast cancer survivors' health-related outcomes.
We examined the associations of EBS use with health-related quality of life (HRQOL), with fatigue, and with 15 hormone-related symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats among 767 breast cancer survivors participating in the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study. HRQOL was measured by the Medical Outcomes Study short form-36 physical and mental component scale summary score. Fatigue was measured by the Revised-Piper Fatigue Scale score.
Neither overall EBS use nor the number of EBS types used was associated with HRQOL, fatigue, or hormone-related symptoms. However, comparisons of those using each specific type of EBS with non-EBS users revealed the following associations. Soy supplements users were more likely to have a better physical health summary score (odds ratio [OR] = 1.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.02-2.70). Flaxseed oil users were more likely to have a better mental health summary score (OR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.05-2.94). Ginseng users were more likely to report severe fatigue and several hormone-related symptoms (all ORs ≥ 1.7 and all 95% CIs exclude 1). Red clover users were less likely to report weight gain, night sweats, and difficulty concentrating (all OR approximately 0.4 and all 95% CIs exclude 1). Alfalfa users were less likely to experience sleep interruption (OR = 0.28, 95% CI = 0.12-0.68). Dehydroepiandrosterone users were less likely to have hot flashes (OR = 0.33, 95% CI = 0.14-0.82).
Our findings indicate that several specific types of EBS might have important influences on a woman's various aspects of quality of life, but further verification is necessary.
PMCID: PMC3234199  PMID: 22067368
16.  Parents’ Ages at Birth and Risk of Adult-onset Hematologic Malignancies Among Female Teachers in California 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2010;171(12):1262-1269.
Although advanced parental age at one's birth has been associated with increased risk of breast and prostate cancers, few studies have examined its effect on adult-onset sporadic hematologic malignancies. The authors examined the association of parents’ ages at women's births with risk of hematologic malignancies among 110,999 eligible women aged 22–84 years recruited into the prospective California Teachers Study. Between 1995 and 2007, 819 women without a family history of hematologic malignancies were diagnosed with incident lymphoma, leukemia (primarily acute myeloid leukemia), or multiple myeloma. Multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models provided estimates of relative risks and 95% confidence intervals. Paternal age was positively associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after adjustment for race and birth order (relative risk for age ≥40 vs. <25 years = 1.51, 95% confidence interval: 1.08, 2.13; P-trend = 0.01). Further adjustment for maternal age did not materially alter the association. By contrast, the elevated non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk associated with advanced maternal age (≥40 years) became null when paternal age was included in the statistical model. No association was observed for acute myeloid leukemia or multiple myeloma. Advanced paternal age may play a role in non-Hodgkin lymphoma etiology. Potential etiologic mechanisms include de novo gene mutations, aberrant paternal gene imprinting, or telomere/telomerase biology.
PMCID: PMC2915497  PMID: 20507900
cohort studies; hematologic neoplasms; leukemia, myeloid, acute; lymphoma, non-Hodgkin; maternal age; paternal age
17.  The roles of herbal remedies in survival and quality of life among long-term breast cancer survivors - results of a prospective study 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:222.
Few data exist on survival or health-related quality of life (QOL) related to herbal remedy use among long-term breast cancer survivors. The objective of this report is to examine whether herbal remedy use is associated with survival or the health-related QOL of these long-term breast cancer survivors.
In 1999-2000, we collected the information of herbal remedy use and QOL during a telephone interview with 371 Los Angeles Non-Hispanic/Hispanic white women who had survived more than 10 years after breast cancer diagnosis. QOL was measured using the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36) questionnaire. Patients were followed for mortality from the baseline interview through 2007. 299 surviving patients completed a second telephone interview on QOL in 2002-2004. We used multivariable Cox proportional hazards methods to estimate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for mortality and applied multivariable linear regression models to compare average SF-36 change scores (follow-up - baseline) between herbal remedy users and non-users.
Fifty-nine percent of participants were herbal remedy users at baseline. The most commonly used herbal remedies were echinacea, herbal teas, and ginko biloba. Herbal remedy use was associated with non-statistically significant increases in the risks for all-cause (44 deaths, RR = 1.28, 95% CI = 0.62-2.64) and breast cancer (33 deaths, RR = 1.78, 95% CI = 0.72-4.40) mortality. Both herbal remedy users' and non-users' mental component summary scores on the SF-36 increased similarly from the first survey to the second survey (P = 0.16), but herbal remedy users' physical component summary scores decreased more than those of non-users (-5.7 vs. -3.2, P = 0.02).
Our data provide some evidence that herbal remedy use is associated with poorer survival and a poorer physical component score for health-related QOL among women who have survived breast cancer for at least 10 years. These conclusions are based on exploratory analyses of data from a prospective study using two-sided statistical tests with no correction for multiple testing and are limited by few deaths for mortality analysis and lack of information on when herbal remedy use was initiated or duration of or reasons for use.
PMCID: PMC3126792  PMID: 21645383
herb; breast cancer; survival; mortality; QOL
18.  Menopausal Hormone Therapy Use and Risk of Invasive Colon Cancer 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2010;171(4):415-425.
Results from epidemiologic studies of hormone therapy use and colon cancer risk are inconsistent. This question was investigated in the California Teachers Study (1995–2006) among 56,864 perimenopausal or postmenopausal participants under 80 years of age with no prior colorectal cancer by using Cox proportional hazards regression. Incident invasive colon cancer was diagnosed among 442 participants. Baseline-recent hormone therapy users were at 36% lower risk for colon cancer versus baseline-never users (baseline-recent users: relative risk (RR) = 0.64, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.51, 0.80). Results did not differ by formulation. Estimated risk was lower among baseline-recent hormone therapy users with increasing duration between 5 and 15 years of use (RR = 0.49, 95% CI: 0.35, 0.68), but the trend did not persist in the longest duration group, more than 15 years of use (RR = 0.69, 95% CI: 0.52, 0.92; Ptrend = 0.60). Long-term recreational physical activity, obesity, regular use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medications, and daily alcohol intake did not modify these effects; baseline-recent use was more strongly associated with colon cancer risk among women with a family history of colorectal cancer (Pheterogeneity = 0.04). Baseline-recent hormone therapy use was inversely associated with invasive colon cancer risk among perimenopausal and postmenopausal women in the California Teachers Study.
PMCID: PMC2842195  PMID: 20067917
colonic neoplasms; hormone replacement therapy; lung neoplasms; parity; prospective studies; reproduction; smoking
19.  Use of Four Biomarkers to Evaluate the Risk of Breast Cancer Subtypes in the Women’s Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences Study 
Cancer research  2010;70(2):575-587.
Epidemiological studies have suggested that some hormone-related breast cancer risk factors differentially influence risk of breast cancer subtypes defined by estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) expression status in tumor tissue. However, it remains unclear whether human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) and p53 protein (p53) expression status in tumor tissue further differentiate these exposure-risk-group associations. We evaluated the associations of oral contraceptive (OC) use and reproductive factors with incident invasive breast cancer subtypes among 1197 population-based cases and 2015 controls from the Los Angeles County or Detroit components of the Women’s Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences Study. We used multivariable polychotomous unconditional logistic regression methods to conduct case-control comparisons by ER/PR/HER2/p53 status. We found that OC use was not associated with any breast cancer subtype defined by ER/PR/HER2/p53, except for a 2.9-fold increased risk for triple negative (ER−/PR−/HER2−) tumors among older women (ages 45–64 years) who started OC use before age 18. Parity was associated with decreased risk of luminal A (ER+ or PR+, HER2−), luminal B (ER+ or PR+, HER2+), and ER−/PR−/HER2+ tumors. Age at first full-term pregnancy was positively associated with luminal A tumors among older women. Neither of these reproductive factors was associated with triple negative tumors. Long duration of breastfeeding lowered risk of triple negative and luminal A tumors. No further differential risk patterns were noted when p53 was also considered. These results provide evidence supporting a difference in some hormone-related risk factor profiles between triple negative and other breast cancer subtypes defined by ER/PR/HER2.
PMCID: PMC2807992  PMID: 20068186
ER/PR/HER2/p53; breast cancer; hormone-related factors; oral contraceptive; reproductive factors
20.  Body Size, Recreational Physical Activity, and B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk Among Women in the California Teachers Study 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2009;170(10):1231-1240.
Nutritional status and physical activity are known to alter immune function, which may be relevant to lymphomagenesis. The authors examined body size measurements and recreational physical activity in relation to risk of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in the prospective California Teachers Study. Between 1995 and 2007, 574 women were diagnosed with incident B-cell NHL among 121,216 eligible women aged 22–84 years at cohort entry. Multivariable-adjusted relative risks and 95% confidence intervals were estimated by fitting Cox proportional hazards models for all B-cell NHL combined and for the 3 most common subtypes: diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, and B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma. Height was positively associated with risk of all B-cell NHLs (for >1.70 vs. 1.61–1.65 m, relative risk = 1.50, 95% confidence interval: 1.16, 1.96) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (relative risk = 1.93, 95% confidence interval: 1.09, 3.41). Weight and body mass index at age 18 years were positive predictors of B-cell NHL risk overall. These findings indicate that greater height, which may reflect genetics, early life immune function, infectious exposures, nutrition, or growth hormone levels, may play a role in NHL etiology. Adiposity at age 18 years may be more relevant to NHL etiology than that in later life.
PMCID: PMC2781760  PMID: 19822569
body mass index; body size; cohort studies; exercise; hip; lymphoma, non-Hodgkin; waist-hip ratio
21.  Long-term and recent recreational physical activity and survival after breast cancer: the California Teachers Study 
Long-term physical activity is associated with lower breast cancer risk. Little information exists on its association with subsequent survival.
California Teachers Study cohort members provided information in 1995–1996 on long-term (high school through age 54 years) and recent (past 3 years) participation in moderate and strenuous recreational physical activities. The 3,539 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer after cohort entry and through December 31, 2004, were followed through December 31, 2005. Of these, 460 women died, 221 from breast cancer. Moderate and strenuous physical activities were combined into low (≤0.50 hr/wk/yr of any activity), intermediate (0.51–3.0 hr/wk/yr of moderate or strenuous activity but no activity >3.0 hr/wk/yr) or high activity (>3.0 hr/wk/yr of either activity type). Multivariable relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for mortality were estimated using Cox proportional hazards methods, adjusting for race/ethnicity, estrogen receptor status, disease stage, and baseline information on comorbidities, body mass index, and caloric intake.
Women with high or intermediate levels of long-term physical activity had lower risk of breast cancer death (RR=0.53, 95% CI=0.35–0.80; and RR=0.65, 95% CI=0.45–0.93, respectively) than women with low activity levels. These associations were consistent across estrogen receptor status and disease stage, but confined to overweight women. Deaths due to causes other than breast cancer were related only to recent activity.
Consistent long-term participation in physical activity before breast cancer diagnosis may lower risk of breast cancer death, providing further justification for public health strategies to increase physical activity throughout the lifespan.
PMCID: PMC2783945  PMID: 19843680
22.  Pregnancy-related factors and the risk of breast carcinoma in situ and invasive breast cancer among postmenopausal women in the California Teachers Study cohort 
Although pregnancy-related factors such as nulliparity and late age at first full-term pregnancy are well-established risk factors for invasive breast cancer, the roles of these factors in the natural history of breast cancer development remain unclear.
Among 52,464 postmenopausal women participating in the California Teachers Study (CTS), 624 were diagnosed with breast carcinoma in situ (CIS) and 2,828 with invasive breast cancer between 1995 and 2007. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression methods were used to estimate relative risks associated with parity, age at first full-term pregnancy, breastfeeding, nausea or vomiting during pregnancy, and preeclampsia.
Compared with never-pregnant women, an increasing number of full-term pregnancies was associated with greater risk reduction for both breast CIS and invasive breast cancer (both P trend < 0.01). Women having four or more full-term pregnancies had a 31% lower breast CIS risk (RR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.51 to 0.93) and 18% lower invasive breast cancer risk (RR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.72 to 0.94). Parous women whose first full-term pregnancy occurred at age 35 years or later had a 118% greater risk for breast CIS (RR = 2.18, 95% CI = 1.36 to 3.49) and 27% greater risk for invasive breast cancer (RR = 1.27, 95% CI = 0.99 to 1.65) than those whose first full-term pregnancy occurred before age 21 years. Furthermore, parity was negatively associated with the risk of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) or ER+/progesterone receptor-positive (PR+) while age at first full-term pregnancy was positively associated with the risk of ER+ or ER+/PR+ invasive breast cancer. Neither of these factors was statistically significantly associated with the risk of ER-negative (ER-) or ER-/PR- invasive breast cancer, tests for heterogeneity between subtypes did not reach statistical significance. No clear associations were detected for other pregnancy-related factors.
These results provide some epidemiologic evidence that parity and age at first full-term pregnancy are involved in the development of breast cancer among postmenopausal women. The role of these factors in risk of in situ versus invasive, and hormone receptor-positive versus -negative breast cancer merits further exploration.
PMCID: PMC2917030  PMID: 20565829
23.  Reproductive Factors and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk in the California Teachers Study 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(12):e8135.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a malignancy etiologically linked to immunomodulatory exposures and disorders. Endogenous female sex hormones may modify immune function and influence NHL risk. Few studies have examined associations between reproductive factors, which can serve as surrogates for such hormonal exposures, and NHL risk by subtype.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Women in the California Teachers Study cohort provided detailed data in 1995–1996 on reproductive history. Follow-up through 2007 identified 574 women with incident B-cell NHL. Hazard rate ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models to assess associations between reproductive factors and all B-cell NHL combined, diffuse large B-cell lymphomas, follicular lymphomas, and B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemias/small lymphocytic lymphomas. Pregnancy was marginally associated with lower risk of B-cell NHL (RR = 0.84, 95% CI = 0.68–1.04). Much of the reduction in risk was observed after one full-term pregnancy relative to nulligravid women (RR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.54–1.06; P for trend <0.01), particularly for diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (P for trend = 0.13), but not among women who had only incomplete pregnancies. Age at first full-term pregnancy was marginally inversely associated with B-cell NHL risk overall (P for trend = 0.08) and for diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (P for trend = 0.056). Breast feeding was not associated with B-cell NHL risk overall or by subtype.
Full-term pregnancy and early age at first full-term pregnancy account for most of the observed reduction in B-cell NHL risk associated with gravidity. Pregnancy-related hormonal exposures, including prolonged and high-level exposure to progesterone during a full-term pregnancy may inhibit development of B-cell NHL.
PMCID: PMC2780313  PMID: 19956586
24.  Incomplete pregnancy is not associated with breast cancer risk: the California Teachers Study 
Contraception  2008;77(6):391-396.
Early studies of incomplete pregnancy and development of breast cancer suggested that induced abortion might increase risk. Several large prospective studies, which eliminate recall bias, did not detect associations but this relationship continues to be debated.
Study design
To further inform this important question, we examined invasive breast cancer as it relates to incomplete pregnancy, including total number of induced abortions, age at first induced abortion and total number of miscarriages among women participating in the ongoing California Teachers Study (CTS) cohort. Incomplete pregnancy was self-reported on the CTS baseline questionnaire in 1995–96. Incident breast cancers were ascertained in 3,324 women through 2004 via linkage with the California Cancer Registry.
Using Cox multivariable regression, we found no statistically significant association between any measure of incomplete pregnancy and breast cancer risk among nulliparous or parous women.
These results provide strong evidence that there is no relationship between incomplete pregnancy and breast cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC2473863  PMID: 18477486
breast cancer; incomplete pregnancy
25.  Serum Organochlorines and Breast Cancer: A Case-Control Study among African-American Women 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2007;18(1):29-39.
This population-based case-control study of African-American women (355 breast cancer case patients, 327 controls) examined the association between breast cancer and circulating levels of PCBs and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene (DDE), a metabolite of DDT. Case patients were diagnosed with invasive breast carcinoma and interviewed between June 1995 and July 1998, and control subjects were identified by random digit dialing methods. Serum levels of DDE and total PCBs were adjusted for total lipid content. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using multivariable unconditional logistic regression methods. Effect modification by tumor receptor status and cancer treatment was investigated. Breast cancer risk was not associated with increasing quintiles of lipid-adjusted PCBs or DDE (highest vs. lowest quintile adjusted for age, body mass index (BMI) and breastfeeding for DDE: OR=1.02, 95% CI=(0.61, 1.72), p-trend = 0.74; for PCBs: OR=1.01, 95% CI=(0.63, 1.63), p-trend = 0.56). Risk did not differ by strata of BMI, breastfeeding, parity, menopausal status or tumor receptor status. This study, the largest study of African-American women to date, does not support a role of DDE and total PCBs in breast cancer risk at the levels measured.
PMCID: PMC1839921  PMID: 17186420
organochlorines; breast cancer; African-Americans; DDT; DDE; PCBs; pesticides; cancer; women

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