Mammographic density does not differ between unaffected BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and women at low-to-average risk of breast cancer

Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Office of Preventive Oncology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (Impact Factor: 3.94). 08/2010; 123(1):245-55. DOI: 10.1007/s10549-010-0749-7
Source: PubMed


Elevated mammographic density (MD) is one of the strongest risk factors for sporadic breast cancer. Epidemiologic evidence suggests that MD is, in part, genetically determined; however, the relationship between MD and BRCA1/2 mutation status is equivocal. We compared MD in unaffected BRCA1/2 mutation carriers enrolled in the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Clinical Genetics Branch's Breast Imaging Study (n = 143) with women at low-to-average breast cancer risk enrolled in the same study (n = 29) or the NCI/National Naval Medical Center's Susceptibility to Breast Cancer Study (n = 90). The latter were BRCA mutation-negative members of mutation-positive families or women with no prior breast cancer, a Pedigree Assessment Tool score <8 (i.e., low risk of a hereditary breast cancer syndrome) and a Gail score <1.67. A single experienced mammographer measured MD using a computer-assisted thresholding method. We collected standard breast cancer risk factor information in both studies. Unadjusted mean percent MD was higher in women with BRCA1/2 mutations compared with women at low-to-average breast cancer risk (37.3% vs. 33.4%; P = 0.04), but these differences disappeared after adjusting for age and body mass index (34.9% vs. 36.3%; P = 0.43). We explored age at menarche, nulliparity, age at first birth, menopausal status, number of breast biopsies, and exposure to exogenous hormonal agents as potential confounders of the MD and BRCA1/2 association. Taking these factors into account did not significantly alter the results of the age/body mass index-adjusted analysis. Our results do not provide support for an independent effect of BRCA1/2 mutation status on mammographic density.

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Available from: Claudia Giambartolomei
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    • "The Ashkenazi Jewish population has been reported to have higher rates of breast cancer compared with other Caucasian populations [53], which may be at least partially explained by its high prevalence of two founder mutations in BRCA1 and one founder mutation in BRCA2 [54]. However, the increased prevalence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline mutation carriers is unlikely to explain the association of adjusted PMD with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, as two studies have demonstrated no association between BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation status and PMD [55,56]. Based on our data we cannot determine whether increased PMD in Ashkenazi Jewish women is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer independent of BRCA1 and BRCA2. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Percent mammographic density (PMD) adjusted for age and body mass index is one of the strongest risk factors for breast cancer and is known to be approximately 60% heritable. Here we report a finding of an association between genetic ancestry and adjusted PMD. Methods We selected self-identified Caucasian women in the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute Cohort whose screening mammograms placed them in the top or bottom quintiles of age-adjusted and body mass index-adjusted PMD. Our final dataset included 474 women with the highest adjusted PMD and 469 with the lowest genotyped on the Illumina 1 M platform. Principal component analysis (PCA) and identity-by-descent analyses allowed us to infer the women's genetic ancestry and correlate it with adjusted PMD. Results Women of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, as defined by the first principal component of PCA and identity-by-descent analyses, represented approximately 15% of the sample. Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, defined by the first principal component of PCA, was associated with higher adjusted PMD (P = 0.004). Using multivariate regression to adjust for epidemiologic factors associated with PMD, including age at parity and use of postmenopausal hormone therapy, did not attenuate the association. Conclusions Women of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, based on genetic analysis, are more likely to have high age-adjusted and body mass index-adjusted PMD. Ashkenazi Jews may have a unique set of genetic variants or environmental risk factors that increase mammographic density.
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    ABSTRACT: Developing improved methods for breast cancer risk prediction could facilitate the targeting of interventions to women at highest risk, thereby reducing mortality, while sparing low-risk women the costs and inconvenience of unnecessary testing and procedures. However, currently available risk assessment tools fall short of achieving accurate individual risk prediction, precluding implementation of this approach. Improving these tools will require the identification of new methods of assessing risk and increasing the accuracy of existing risk indicators. We review four emerging topics that may have importance for breast cancer risk assessment: etiological heterogeneity, genetic susceptibility, mammographic breast density, and assessment of breast involution.
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    ABSTRACT: Mammographic density (MD) is one of the strongest determinants of sporadic breast cancer (BC). In this study, we compared MD in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and non-carriers from BRCA1/2 mutation-positive families and investigated the association between MD and BC among BRCA1/2 mutation carriers per type of mutation and tumor subtype. The study was carried out in 1039 female members of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation-positive families followed at 16 Spanish Genetic Counseling Units. Participants' density was scored retrospectively from available mammograms by a single blinded radiologist using a 5-category scale (<10 %, 10-25 %, 25-50 %, 50-75 %, >75 %). In BC cases, we selected mammograms taken prior to diagnosis or from the contralateral breast, whereas, in non-cases, the last screening mammogram was evaluated. MD distribution in carriers and non-carriers was compared using ordinal logistic models, and the association between MD and BC in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers was studied using logistic regression. Huber-White robust estimators of variance were used to take into account correlations between family members. A similar multinomial model was used to explore this association by BC subtype. We identified and scored mammograms from 341 BRCA1, 350 BRCA2 mutation carriers and 229 non-carriers. Compared to non-carriers, MD was significantly lower among BRCA2 mutation carriers (odds ratio (OR) =0.71; P-value=0.04), but not among BRCA1 carriers (OR=0.84; P-value=0.33). MD was associated with subsequent development BC (OR per category of MD=1.45; 95 % confidence interval=1.18-1.78, P-value<0.001), with no significant differences between BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers (P-value=0.48). Finally, no statistically significant differences were observed in the association of MD with specific BC subtypes. Our study, the largest to date on this issue, confirms that MD is an independent risk factor for all BC subtypes in either BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers, and should be considered a phenotype risk marker in this context.
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