By: 15 January 2014
Clues about contralateral breast cancer

Mammographic density can be used to assess the likelihood that a breast will develop cancer. But can a mammogram of one breast give information about the cancer risk of the other? Sandberg et al investigate.




Mammographic density is a strong risk factor for breast cancer, but it is unknown whether density at first breast cancer diagnosis and changes during follow-up influences risk of non-simultaneous contralateral breast cancer (CBC).


We collected mammograms for CBC-patients (cases, N = 211) and unilateral breast cancer patients (controls, N = 211), individually matched on age and calendar period of first breast cancer diagnosis, type of adjuvant therapy and length of follow-up (mean follow-up time: 8.25 years). The odds of CBC as a function of changes of density during follow-up were investigated using conditional logistic regression, adjusting for non-dense area at diagnosis.


Patients who experienced ≥ 10 percent absolute decrease in percent density had a 55 percent decreased odds of CBC (OR = 0.45 95 percent CI: 0.24 to 0.84) relative to patients who had little or no change in density from baseline to first follow-up mammogram (mean = 1.6 (SD = 0.6) years after diagnosis), whereas among those who experienced an absolute increase in percent density we could not detect any effect on the odds of CBC (OR = 0.83 95 percent CI: 0.24 to 2.87).


Decrease of mammographic density within the first two years after first diagnosis is associated with a significantly reduced risk of CBC, this potential new risk predictor can thus contribute to decision-making in follow-up strategies and treatment.


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Jacques Clarkson
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Breast Cancer Research 2013, 15:R57 | doi:10.1186/bcr3451

© 2013 Sandberg et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.





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