(HealthDay News) — BMI and postmenopausal status are independently associated with breast white adipose tissue inflammation, according to a study scheduled to be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 2014 Breast Cancer Symposium.

Noting that obesity is an independent risk factor for postmenopausal but not premenopausal breast cancer, Neil M. Iyengar, M.D., from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues examined whether menopause and BMI exert independent effects on breast white adipose tissue (WAT) inflammation. 

WAT was prospectively collected from 238 patients (median age, 48 years). CD68 immunohistochemistry was used to detect WAT inflammation, which was defined by the presence of dead or dying adipocytes surrounded by an envelope of macrophages (crown-like structures of the breast [CLS-B]).

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The researchers found that CLS-B occurrence and number of CLS-B/cm² were increased in overweight/obese vs. lean and in postmenopausal vs. premenopausal patients. Independent correlations were seen for BMI and postmenopausal status with the presence of CLS-B (P<.01 and P=.04, respectively) and greater CLS-B/cm² (P<.01 and P=.01, respectively). 

The mean adipocyte diameter was larger for postmenopausal patients than premenopausal patients.

“Breast WAT inflammation (both presence and severity), which we have previously linked to increased aromatase activity, is associated with both increased BMI and menopause,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Iyengar NM et al. Abstract 40. Presented at: 2014 American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Breast Cancer Symposium; Sept. 4-6, 2014; San Francisco.