RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., INTRAMURAL
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Early- and late-onset breast cancer types among women in the United States and Japan.

BACKGROUND: Although differences in breast cancer incidence among Occidental and Asian populations are often attributed to variations in environmental exposures and/or lifestyle, fewer studies have systematically examined the effect of age-related variations.

METHODS: To further explore age-related geographic breast cancer variations, we compared age-specific incidence patterns among cases of female invasive breast cancer from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program and the Osaka Cancer Registry (1978-1997).

RESULTS: In SEER, there were 236,130 Whites, 21,137 Blacks, and 3,304 Japanese-Americans in Hawaii with invasive breast cancer. In Osaka, there were 25,350 cases. Incidence rates per 100,000 woman-years ranged from 87.6 among Whites to 21.8 in Osaka. Age-specific incidence rates increased rapidly until age 50 years for all race/ethnicity groups, and then continued to increase more slowly for Whites, Blacks, and Japanese-Americans in Hawaii but plateaud for Osaka. Age-specific incidence rates in SEER reflected bimodal (early-onset and late-onset) breast cancer populations, whereas Osaka had only an early-onset age distribution. These age-specific differences in incidence among SEER and Osaka persisted after adjustment for calendar-period and birth-cohort effects using age-period-cohort models.

CONCLUSIONS: Results confirm striking age-specific differences among Occidental and native Japanese breast cancer populations, probably due to complex age-related biological and/or environmental variations among Occidental and Asian breast cancer populations.

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