Beyond Breast Cancer: Mammographic Features and Mortality Risk in a Population of Healthy Women

Rachel A. Murphy, Catherine Schairer, Gretchen L. Gierach, Celia Byrne, Mark E. Sherman, Thomas C. Register, Jingzhong Ding, Stephen B. Kritchevsky, Tamara B. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background:Breast fibroglandular (dense) tissue is a risk factor for breast cancer. Beyond breast cancer, little is known regarding the prognostic significance of mammographic features.Methods:We evaluated relationships between nondense (fatty) breast area and dense area with all-cause mortality in 4,245 initially healthy women from the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project; 1,361 died during a mean follow-up of 28.2 years. Dense area and total breast area were assessed using planimeter measurements from screening mammograms. Percent density reflects dense area relative to breast area and nondense area was calculated as the difference between total breast area and dense area. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated by Cox proportional hazards regression.Results:In age-adjusted models, greater nondense and total breast area were associated with increased risk of death (HR 1.17, 95% CI 1.10-1.24 and HR 1.13, 95% CI 1.06-1.19, per SD difference) while greater dense area and percent density were associated with lower risk of death (HR 0.91, 95% CI 0.86-0.95 and HR 0.87, 95% CI 0.83-0.92, per SD difference). Associations were not attenuated with adjustment for race, education, mammogram type (x-ray or xerogram), smoking status, diabetes and heart disease. With additional adjustment for body mass index, associations were diminished for all features but remained statistically significant for dense area (HR 0.94, 95% CI 0.89-0.99, per SD difference) and percent density (HR 0.93, 95% CI 0.87-0.98, per SD difference).Conclusions:These data indicate that dense area and percent density may relate to survival in healthy women and suggest the potential utility of mammograms beyond prediction of breast cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere78722
JournalPloS one
Volume8
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 25 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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    Murphy, R. A., Schairer, C., Gierach, G. L., Byrne, C., Sherman, M. E., Register, T. C., Ding, J., Kritchevsky, S. B., & Harris, T. B. (2013). Beyond Breast Cancer: Mammographic Features and Mortality Risk in a Population of Healthy Women. PloS one, 8(10), [e78722]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0078722