Purpose: Breast cancer risk prediction models are used to plan clinical trials and counsel women; however, relationships of predicted risks of breast cancer incidence and prognosis after breast cancer diagnosis are unknown. Methods: Using largely pre-diagnostic information from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) for 37,939 invasive breast cancers (1996-2007), we estimated 5-year breast cancer risk (<1%; 1-1.66%; ≥1.67%) with three models: BCSC 1-year risk model (BCSC-1; adapted to 5-year predictions); Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (BCRAT); and BCSC 5-year risk model (BCSC-5). Breast cancer-specific mortality post-diagnosis (range: 1-13 years; median: 5.4-5.6 years) was related to predicted risk of developing breast cancer using unadjusted Cox proportional hazards models, and in age-stratified (35-44; 45-54; 55-69; 70-89 years) models adjusted for continuous age, BCSC registry, calendar period, income, mode of presentation, stage and treatment. Mean age at diagnosis was 60 years. Results: Of 6,021 deaths, 2,993 (49.7%) were ascribed to breast cancer. In unadjusted case-only analyses, predicted breast cancer risk ≥1.67% versus <1.0% was associated with lower risk of breast cancer death; BCSC-1: hazard ratio (HR) = 0.82 (95% CI = 0.75-0.90); BCRAT: HR = 0.72 (95% CI = 0.65-0.81) and BCSC-5: HR = 0.84 (95% CI = 0.75-0.94). Age-stratified, adjusted models showed similar, although mostly non-significant HRs. Among women ages 55-69 years, HRs approximated 1.0. Generally, higher predicted risk was inversely related to percentages of cancers with unfavorable prognostic characteristics, especially among women 35-44 years. Conclusions: Among cases assessed with three models, higher predicted risk of developing breast cancer was not associated with greater risk of breast cancer death; thus, these models would have limited utility in planning studies to evaluate breast cancer mortality reduction strategies. Further, when offering women counseling, it may be useful to note that high predicted risk of developing breast cancer does not imply that if cancer develops it will behave aggressively.
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