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Breast cancer risk varies in young women with benign breast disease, Mayo Clinic researchers say
Date:12/13/2008

dical Research Program, Mayo researchers have been studying benign breast disease in 9,376 women whose lesions were biopsied at Mayo Clinic between 1967 and 1991. The scientists continue to follow the progress of these women.

Their research has led to a number of findings, published in such journals as The New England Journal of Medicine, that are helping researchers predict which benign lesions will become cancerous. For example, they have found that in the entire benign breast disease cohort, women with atypical hyperplasia were more than three times more likely to develop breast cancer. They also found that risk decreases in women diagnosed with benign breast disease when the milk-producing lobular ductal glands - where cancer usually develops - shut down, a process known as lobular regression or involution.

In atyical hyperplasia, an increased number of cells line the milk duct or lobule, than is typical and the cells do not look normal under a microscope, but they are not cancerous, according to Dr. Ghosh. In proliferative disease without atypia, an increased number of cells line the milk duct but they look normal. Women with non-proliferative disease have fibrocystic changes but no increase in cell number.

This study was designed to look specifically at younger women in the group, because the earlier findings suggested these women were at increased risk of developing breast cancer, especially if they were diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia. Among the group of 4,460 women less than 50 years old in the study, 2 percent had been diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia, 72 percent had non-proliferative disease and 26 percent had been diagnosed with proliferative disease without atypia.

Researchers found that after a median follow-up of 20 years, 326 of the women included in this study developed breast cancer. That meant the relative risk of developing the cancer was 1.5 times greater than women not diagnosed with BBD.

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Contact: Karl Oestreich
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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