Breast cancer patients with high density mammograms do not have increased risk of death
(Medical Xpress)—High mammographic breast density, which is a marker of increased risk of developing breast cancer, does not seem to increase the risk of death among breast cancer patients, according to a study led by Gretchen L. Gierach, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The research was conducted in collaboration with investigators from the NCI-sponsored Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC).
In the study of over 9,000 women with a confirmed diagnosis of breast cancer, high mammographic density was not associated with the risk of death from breast cancer or death from all causes combined. The study appeared Aug. 20, 2012, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Mammographic breast density reflects the tissue composition of the breast as seen on a mammogram. High mammographic density appears as extensive white areas on an X-ray. Glandular and connective tissue, together known as fibroglandular tissue, block the passage of X-rays to a greater extent than fatty tissue. Breasts with a greater proportion of fibroglandular tissue are said, therefore, to be mammographically denser. For most women, mammographic breast density decreases as they get older, reflecting gradual replacement of fibroglandular tissue by fatty tissue during the normal aging process.
Although high mammographic breast density is a well-established risk factor for developing breast cancer, it was unclear prior to this study whether breast density is also associated with the risk of death among women diagnosed with breast cancer. To address this question the scientists analyzed data from the BCSC, a population-based registry of breast imaging facilities in the United States. The scientists restricted their analysis to five BCSC registries that consistently collect data on body mass index (BMI). BMI is a poor prognostic factor for breast cancer that is inversely related to breast density and therefore might potentially affect associations between density and breast cancer death.
Patients included in the study were 30 years or older at breast cancer diagnosis, which occurred primarily between January 1996 and December 2005. The patients were followed, on average, for 6.6 years, at which time 1,795 deaths were reported, including 889 from breast cancer and 810 from other causes. To analyze breast density, the scientists used the most widely available measure of breast density currently in clinical use, a score known as the Breast Imaging-Reporting and Data System score, which is given by a radiologist based on visual review of a mammogram. Data on tumor characteristics and other personal and health factors were also analyzed.
The analysis of mammographic density showed that breast cancer patients with high-density breasts did not have a higher risk of death from breast cancer than patients with lower density breasts, after adjusting for other health factors and tumor characteristics. The lack of an association between mammographic breast density and breast cancer death is consistent with findings from an earlier, smaller study that examined this association.
This study also found an increase in risk of breast cancer death associated with lower breast density among specific subgroups, particularly breast cancer patients who are obese. The authors speculate that one possible explanation for the increased risk associated with low breast density among some subgroups is that breasts with a higher percentage of fat may provide a tumor microenvironment that facilitates cancer growth and progression.
"Overall, it was reassuring to find that high mammographic breast density, one of the strongest risk factors for breast cancer, was not related to risk of death from breast cancer or death from any cause among breast cancer patients," said Gierach. "Given that we identified subsets of women with breast cancer for whom low density was associated with poor prognoses, our findings underscore the need for an improved understanding of the biological components that are responsible for breast density."
More information: Gierach GL, et al. Relationship between mammographic density and breast cancer death in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. Journal of National Cancer Institute. August 20, 2012. DOI:10.1093/jnci/djs327
Journal reference: Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Provided by National Institutes of Health
- Breast density does not influence breast cancer death among breast cancer patients Aug 20, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Women born to older mothers have a higher risk of developing breast cancer Feb 06, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Breast density linked to increased risk of subsequent breast cancer Oct 07, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Breast density, no lobular involution increase breast cancer risk Oct 29, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Breast density tied to specific types of breast cancer Jul 27, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
In recent years, microRNAs (miRNAs) and other non-coding RNAs are small molecules that help control the expression of specific proteins. In recent years they have emerged as disease biomarkers. miRNA profiles have been used ...
Cancer 17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Cancer cells spread and grow by avoiding detection and destruction by the immune system. Stimulation of the immune system can help to eliminate cancer cells; however, there are many factors that cause the immune system to ...
Cancer 17 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Researchers from London's Kingston University have begun a two-year study which could help prolong the lives of people with colorectal tumours.
Cancer 21 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Transformative research from Western University has identified new hormones in the body which may suppress breast cancer and stimulate the regression of breast tumors.
Cancer 21 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Curtin University researchers have found evidence that targeting specific cells in the body can reverse the effects of cancer on the immune system.
Cancer 22 hours ago | 5 / 5 (4) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—A new study by researchers in the US has shown that an ancient virus can be modified to help in the fight against the simian immunodeficiency virus SIV, which is the equivalent in monkeys ...
21 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Two mutations central to the development of infantile myofibromatosis (IM)—a disorder characterized by multiple tumors involving the skin, bone, and soft tissue—may provide new therapeutic targets, according to researchers ...
15 hours ago | 3 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Women at a particular stage in their monthly menstrual cycle may be more vulnerable to some of the psychological side-effects associated with stressful experiences, according to a study from UCL.
18 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Ernie Pyle – an iconic war correspondent in World War II – reportedly said "There are no atheists in foxholes." A new joint study between two brothers at Cornell and Virginia Wesleyan found that only ...
21 hours ago | 2.5 / 5 (4) | 2
How can healthy people who hear voices help schizophrenics? Finding the answer for this is at the centre of research conducted at the University of Bergen.
21 hours ago | 4 / 5 (2) | 2
Biological processes are generally based on events at the molecular and cellular level. To understand what happens in the course of infections, diseases or normal bodily functions, scientists would need to ...
18 hours ago | 5 / 5 (5) | 0 |