Association between mammographic breast density and histologic features of benign breast disease

Karthik Ghosh, Robert A. Vierkant, Ryan D. Frank, Stacey Winham, Daniel W. Visscher, Vernon S. Pankratz, Christopher G. Scott, Kathleen Brandt, Mark E. Sherman, Derek C. Radisky, Marlene H. Frost, Lynn C. Hartmann, Amy C. Degnim, Celine M. Vachon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Over 40% of women undergoing breast screening have mammographically dense breasts. Elevated mammographic breast density (MBD) is an established breast cancer risk factor and is known to mask tumors within the dense tissue. However, the association of MBD with high risk benign breast disease (BBD) is unknown. Method: We analyzed data for 3400 women diagnosed with pathologically confirmed BBD in the Mayo Clinic BBD cohort from 1985-2001, with a clinical MBD measure (either parenchymal pattern (PP) or Breast Imaging Reporting and Data Systems (BI-RADS) density) and expert pathology review. Risk factor information was collected from medical records and questionnaires. MBD was dichotomized as dense (PP classification P2 or DY, or BI-RADS classification c or d) or non-dense (PP classification N1 or P1, or BI-RADS classification a or b). Associations of clinical and histologic characteristics with MBD were examined using logistic regression analysis to estimate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: Of 3400 women in the study, 2163 (64%) had dense breasts. Adjusting for age and body mass index (BMI), there were positive associations of dense breasts with use of hormone therapy (HT), lack of lobular involution, presence of atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH), histologic fibrosis, columnar cell hyperplasia/flat epithelia atypia (CCH/FEA), sclerosing adenosis (SA), cyst, usual ductal hyperplasia, and calcifications. In fully adjusted multivariate models, HT (1.3, 95% CI 1.1-1.5), ALH (1.5, 95% CI 1.0-2.2), lack of lobular involution (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.2-2.1, compared to complete involution), fibrosis (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.9-2.6) and CCH/FEA (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0-1.6) remained significantly associated with high MBD. Conclusion: Our findings support an association between high risk BBD and high MBD, suggesting that risks associated with the latter may act early in breast carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 19 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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