Relationship between Cigarette Smoking and Cancer Characteristics and Survival among Breast Cancer Patients

Sarah Darmon, Amie Park, Leann A. Lovejoy, Craig D. Shriver, Kangmin Zhu, Rachel E. Ellsworth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Carcinogenic effects of tobacco smoke may affect breast tumorigenesis. To assess whether cigarette smoking is associated with breast cancer characteristics, we investigated the relationships between smoking, pathological characteristics, and outcomes in 2153 women diagnosed with breast cancer 2001–2016. Patients were classified as never, former, or current smokers at the time of diagnosis. Logistic regression and multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis were performed to determine whether smoking was associated with tumor characteristics. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis was conducted to compare former or current smokers to never smokers in survival with adjustment for the potential confounders. The majority of women (61.8%) never smoked, followed by former smokers (26.2%) and current smokers (12.0%). After adjustment for demographic variables, body mass index, and comorbidities, tumor characteristics were not significantly associated with smoking status or pack-years smoked. Ten-year overall survival was significantly lower for former and current smokers compared to never smokers (p = 0.0105). However, breast cancer specific survival did not differ significantly between groups (p = 0.1606). Although cigarette smoking did not alter the underlying biology of breast tumors or breast cancer-specific survival, overall survival was significantly worse in smokers, highlighting the importance of smoking cessation in the recently diagnosed breast cancer patient.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4084
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • breast cancer
  • cigarette smoking
  • pathology
  • survival


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