News | April 21, 2010

Decreasing Breast Density Lowers Cancer Risk

April 21, 2010 - A decrease in breast density, or the proportion of fibroglandular tissue depicted on the mammogram image, over a number of years is associated with decreased risk of breast cancer, reported researchers from the Mayo Clinic campus in Minnesota at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 101st Annual Meeting 2010.

Lead investigator, Celine Vachon, Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology, presented the results. Vachon and her team of researchers found a 28 percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer in women whose breasts decreased in density. They looked at two different mammograms taken an average of six years apart, compared to women whose breast density did not change. Two measures of breast density may provide additional information for assessing breast cancer risk, Vachon concluded.

The current assessment available in most clinical settings is Breast Imaging-Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS), which is not very advanced in the area of measuring breast density, nor was it designed for that purpose.

The study was drawn from the Mammography Health Study, which enrolled 19,924 women who were free of breast cancer, had screening mammograms performed at Mayo Clinic between 2003 and 2006 in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. From this large group, the researchers selected participants who had at least one additional screening mammogram prior to enrollment. They then looked at clinic and tumor registries in the three Midwestern states to determine if any of these women developed breast cancer after enrolling in the study.

Measures of mammographic density were obtained from the two mammograms, an average of six years apart, for the approximately 1,900 women randomly sampled from the cohort, and from all 219 individuals who were diagnosed with breast cancer during follow-up. In the cancer-free group, 38.6 percent of women had a decrease in breast density, 50.4 percent stayed the same, and 11 percent showed an increase in breast density. In women who developed breast cancer, the percentages were 37, 51 and 12, respectively.

Women who developed breast cancer were less likely to experience a decrease in density in a second mammogram, says Vachon. After adjusting for other potential factors that contribute to breast cancer development, such as age, body mass index, postmenopausal hormones, postmenopausal status, in addition to baseline breast density, the researchers found that women who decreased one BI-RADS category or more over an average of six years were at 28 percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer, compared to women whose density was unchanged.

Breast density can change with time, as evidenced by decreases seen with women going through menopause or using the breast cancer preventive drug tamoxifen. Increases are seen with postmenopausal hormone therapy use. Vachon said the results suggest that decreases in density may translate to decreased breast cancer risk.

Vachon, however, cautioned that the data was not ready for use in clinical practice to inform breast cancer risk, and she stressed the need for standardized measurements of breast density for the assessment of changes in density are needed.

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

For more information: www.aacr.org

Related Content

Comparison of Screening Recommendations Supports Annual Mammography
News | Mammography | August 22, 2017
When to initiate screening for breast cancer, how often to screen, and how long to screen are questions that continue...
Sponsored Content | Videos | Breast Imaging | July 28, 2017
Nancy Cappello, Ph.D., executive director and founder of Are You Dense Inc. and Are You Dense Advocacy, explains how
Volpara Solutions to Showcase Volpara Enterprise DDP Software at AHRA 2017
News | Mammography | July 11, 2017
Volpara Solutions Inc. will showcase its new Volpara Enterprise DDP software at the Association for Medical Imaging...
Fujifilm Showcases Digital Radiography, Mammography Innovations at AHRA 2017
News | Digital Radiography (DR) | July 06, 2017
Fujifilm Medical Systems U.S.A. Inc. will present its comprehensive portfolio of digital radiography (DR) and...
Solis Mammography Ranks No. 19 in Dallas Business Journal’s Middle Market 50
News | Mammography | June 30, 2017
June 30, 2017 — Solis Mammography was named the 19th fastest-growing, middle-market company in North Texas by the
GE Healthcare Announces First U.S. Installation of Senographe Pristina Mammography System
News | Mammography | June 29, 2017
GE Healthcare has collaborated with Boca Raton Regional Hospital (Boca Raton, Fla.) to bring a more comfortable...
New Study Highlights Breakthrough Therapy to Reduce Mammographic Breast Density
News | Breast Density | June 28, 2017
Stephen N. Birrell, M.D., Ph.D., presented breakthrough findings into the reduction of mammographic breast density at...
Therapixel Wins the Digital Mammography Challenge
News | Mammography | June 23, 2017
June 23, 2017 — French radiology technology company Therapixel was recently named the winner of the Digital Mammograp
MRI Plus Mammography Improves Detection of New Breast Cancer After Surgery
News | Breast Imaging | June 22, 2017
A new article published by JAMA Oncology compares outcomes for combined mammography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI...
mammogram

Photo courtesy of Barco

News | Mammography | June 08, 2017
An analysis of breast cancer data revealed that many small breast cancers have an excellent prognosis because they are...
Overlay Init