Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breast density change linked to cancer development, study suggests

Date:
April 21, 2010
Source:
Georgetown University Medical Center
Summary:
An increase in breast density appears to be the culprit behind an increase of breast cancer found in women participating in an estrogen and progestin therapy study.

An increase in breast density appears to be the culprit behind an increase of breast cancer found in women participating in the estrogen and progestin therapy study, a part of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI).

That is the finding of a new WHI analysis led by Celia Byrne, PhD, assistant professor at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, and presented during the AACR 101st Annual Meeting 2010 in Washington, DC.

The WHI was launched in 1991 and consisted of a set of clinical trials and an observational study, which together involved 161,808 generally healthy postmenopausal women. One of the clinical trials examined the health effects of estrogen plus progestin therapy (EPT). The study was stopped early in 2002 because of an increased cancer risk found in those taking EPT. In the current analysis, researchers set out to determine if a change in mammographic density for EPT users could explain the increased breast cancer risk.

"In fact, that's exactly what we found," says Byrne. She adds that mammographic density is one of the strongest predictors of breast cancer risk suggesting that it might be a useful intermediate marker of change in breast cancer risk.

For the analysis, researchers obtained mammograms from study participants taken before they were randomized to the EPT or placebo arm of the WHI study. They also obtained mammograms from 97 women in the EPT arm who later developed invasive breast cancer. The mammograms (of the contralateral breast) were taken a year after they were randomized. In addition, the researchers collected mammograms from 77 women, also taken a year after they were randomized to the placebo arm. Finally, mammograms from a "random side" were collected for 733 health controls. The mammograms were digitized. Four experienced readers blinded to treatment and outcome assessed mammographic density, the proportion of the breast area appearing dense on the mammogram. The risk associated with both baseline mammographic density and change in mammographic was evaluated. The four readers' results were highly correlated.

A decline in mammographic density was seen in more than half (57 percent) of the women in the placebo group compared with a 16 percent decrease in the EPT arm. Eight-four percent of women in the EPT arm had increased mammographic density compared to 47 percent of the women in the placebo group.

In the EPT arm, both the baseline and change in mammographic density were significantly associated with breast cancer risk. Using these mammograms, researchers could "predict" those who would go on to develop breast cancer. Among the 20 percent of women with the greatest increase in mammographic density in the EPT arm of the study, breast cancer risk was more than tripled (3.6-fold) compared to the 20 percent increased risk in the group with the lowest increase or decrease in density.

"The overall result within this sub-study for the effect of EPT on breast cancer risk compared to placebo was similar to that of the WHI findings," says Byrne. The researchers reported an overall 24 percent increased breast cancer risk for those in the EPT arm.

"For women using hormone replacement therapy with estrogen and progestin, breast density is a factor that a physician should consider when tracking their breast health," concludes Byrne. "For general screening, breast density might one day be used to help determine mammograms that demonstrate uncertainty about a visual anomaly."

In addition to Byrne, authors include Giske Ursin, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; Christopher F. Martin, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC; Jennifer D. Peck, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK; Elodia B. Cole, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC; Gerardo Heiss; University of North Carolina School of Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC; Anne McTiernan, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA; Donglin Zeng, University of North Carolina School of Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC; Rowan T. Chlebowski, University of California Los Angeles, School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA; Dorothy S. Lane, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stoney Brook, NY; JoAnn E. Manson,Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA; Jean Wactawski-Wende, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY; Shagufta Yasmeen, University of California Davis Health System, Sacramento, CA; Norman F. Boyd, Ontario Cancer Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada; Martin J. Yaffe, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; and Etta D. Pisano, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgetown University Medical Center. "Breast density change linked to cancer development, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100421102342.htm>.
Georgetown University Medical Center. (2010, April 21). Breast density change linked to cancer development, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100421102342.htm
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Breast density change linked to cancer development, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100421102342.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins