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Change in breast density over time provides clues about breast cancer risk
Date:4/20/2010

WASHINGTON A decrease in breast density, or the proportion of fibroglandular tissue depicted on the mammogram image, over a number of years is associated with decreased risk of breast cancer, researchers from the Mayo Clinic campus in Minnesota report at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 101st Annual Meeting 2010.

The researchers found a 28 percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer in women whose breasts decreased in density, as seen from two different mammograms taken an average of six years apart, compared to women whose breast density did not change.

Two measures of breast density may, therefore, provide additional information for assessing breast cancer risk, says the study's lead investigator, Celine Vachon, Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology. Dr. Vachon adds, however, that this information is not ready for use in clinical practice to inform breast cancer risk. "Replication of these findings in other studies will be important," she says. "Also, improved and standardized measurements of breast density are needed for the assessment of changes in density."

The current assessment available in most clinical settings is BI-RADS, Breast Imaging-Reporting and Data System, which is relatively unsophisticated when it comes to measuring breast density and was not intended for this purpose, Dr. Vachon says. "There is a lot of ongoing work aimed at improving measures of density, so that situation should change," she adds.

This study was drawn from the Mammography Health Study, which enrolled 19,924 women who were free of breast cancer, had screening mammograms performed at Mayo Clinic between 2003 and 2006 and resided in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. From this large group, the researchers selected participants
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Contact: Karl Oestreich
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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