Breast Cancer in Tunisia: Association of Body Mass Index with Histopathological Aspects of Tumors


Background: Previous studies have suggested a link between obesity and breast cancer (BC). However, there is no universal consensus, especially in population based studies. Because only few studies have been conducted on African women, we aimed here to assess the relationship between BMI at time of diagnosis and the BC histopathological features among Tunisian patients according to menopausal status using a hospital-based prospective cohort study. Materials and
Methods: Clinical and pathological data were collected from 262 patients stratified on four groups according to their BMI. The relationship between BMI and histopathological features at diagnosis was analysed using univariate and multivariate analysis. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to evaluate the performance of BMI in predicting of high tumor grade, in comparison to ki-67 index of proliferation.
Results: Obesity was correlated with larger tumors, advanced grade and with ER-PRHer2+BC subtype. An association of BMI with tumor size and tumor grade was observed in both premenopausaland postmenopausal women. Additionally, a significant association between BMI and ER+, ER+PR+Her2+ and ER-PR-Her2+ status was revealed for premenopausal patients, while only ER+PR+Her2+ was associated with BMI for postmenopausal women. Finally, our results showed that compared to Ki67 proliferation index, BMIis a useful prognostic marker of high grade BC tumors.
Conclusions: These data are the first to show that in Tunisia obese women suffering from BC have significantly larger tumors and advanced tumor grade and that higher BMI might influence tumor characteristics and behavior.