HealthDay News — Periodontal disease is associated with increased risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women, according to research published online December 21 in Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Jo L. Freudenheim, PhD, from the University at Buffalo in New York, and colleagues followed 73,737 postmenopausal women without previous breast cancer in the Women’s Health Observational Study to examine the correlation between periodontal disease and breast cancer. The correlations were stratified by smoking, as the oral microbiome of those with periodontal disease differs with smoking status.

The researchers identified a mean of 2,124 incident, invasive breast cancer cases after an average follow-up of 6.7 years. Overall, 26.1% of women reported periodontal disease, which was associated with increased risk of breast cancer (hazard ratio [HR], 1.14; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.03 to 1.26), especially among former smokers who quit within the previous 20 years (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.77). A similar trend was observed among current smokers (HR, 1.32; 95% CI, 0.83 to 2.11). For former smokers quitting within 20 years and current smokers, respectively, the population attributable fraction was 12.06% (95% CI, 1.12 to 21.79) and 10.90% (95% CI, 10.31 to 28.94) for periodontal disease.

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“Periodontal disease, a common chronic inflammatory disorder, was associated with increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, particularly among former smokers who quit in the past 20 years,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and oral hygiene industries.


  1. Freudenheim JL, Genco RJ, LaMonte MJ, et al. Periodontal disease and breast cancer: prospective cohort study of postmenopausal women. Cancer Epidem Biomar. 2015; doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-0750