Body fatness and breast cancer risk in relation to phosphorylated mTOR expression in a sample of predominately Black women

Ting Yuan David Cheng, Angela R. Omilian, Song Yao, Weizhou Zhang, Susmita Datta, Wiam Bshara, Rochelle Payne Ondracek, Warren Davis, Song Liu, Chi Chen Hong, Elisa V. Bandera, Thaer Khoury, Christine B. Ambrosone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway promoted by positive energy imbalance and insulin-like growth factors can be a mechanism by which obesity influences breast cancer risk. We evaluated the associations of body fatness with the risk of breast cancer varied with phosphorylated (p)-mTOR protein expression, an indication of the pathway activation. Methods: Women with newly diagnosed breast cancer (n = 715; 574 [80%] Black and 141 [20%] White) and non-cancer controls (n = 1983; 1280 [64%] Black and 713 [36%] White) were selected from the Women’s Circle of Health Study. Surgical tumor samples among the cases were immunostained for p-mTOR (Ser2448) and classified as p-mTOR-overexpressed, if the expression level ≥ 75th percentile, or p-mTOR-negative/low otherwise. Anthropometrics were measured by trained staff, and body composition was determined by bioelectrical impedance analysis. Odds ratios (ORs) of p-mTOR-overexpressed tumors and p-mTOR-negative/low tumors compared to controls were estimated using polytomous logistic regression. The differences in the associations by the p-mTOR expression status were assessed by tests for heterogeneity. Results: Cases with p-mTOR-overexpressed tumors, but not cases with p-mTOR-negative/low tumors, compared to controls were more likely to have higher body mass index (BMI), percent body fat, and fat mass index (P-heterogeneity < 0.05), although the OR estimates were not significant. For the measurement of central adiposity, cases with p-mTOR overexpressed tumors had a higher odds of being at the Q3 (OR = 2.52, 95% CI = 1.46 to 4.34) and Q4 (OR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.12 to 3.50) of waist circumference (WC) compared to controls. Similarly, cases with p-mTOR overexpressed tumors had a higher odds of being at the Q3 (OR = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.11 to 2.98) and Q4 (OR = 1.81, 95% CI = 1.11 to 2.98) of WHR compared to controls. These associations of WC and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) did not differ by tumor p-mTOR status (P-heterogeneity = 0.27 and 0.48, respectively). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that in this population composed of predominately Black women, body fatness is associated with breast cancer differently for p-mTOR overexpression and p-mTOR negative/low expression. Whether mTOR plays a role in the obesity and breast cancer association warrants confirmation by prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number77
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • African American/Black women
  • Body fatness
  • Breast cancer
  • Case-control study
  • Mechanistic target of rapamycin

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