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Longitudinal association of anthropometry with mammographic breast density in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation

High percent mammographic breast density is strongly associated with increased breast cancer risk. Though body mass index (BMI) is positively associated with risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, BMI is negatively associated with percent breast density in cross-sectional studies. Few longitudinal studies have evaluated associations between BMI and weight and mammographic breast density. We studied the longitudinal relationships between anthropometry and breast density in a prospective cohort of 834 pre- and perimenopausal women enrolled in an ancillary study to the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). Routine screening mammograms were collected and read for breast density. Random intercept regression models were used to evaluate whether annual BMI change was associated with changes over time in dense breast area and percent density. The study population was 7.4% African-American, 48.8% Caucasian, 21.8% Chinese, and 21.9% Japanese. Mean follow-up was 4.8 years. Mean annual weight change was +0.32 kg/year, mean change in dense area was -0.77 cm(2)/year, and mean change in percent density was -1.14%/year. In fully adjusted models, annual change in BMI was not significantly associated with changes in dense breast area (-0.17 cm(2), 95% CI -0.64, 0.29). Borderline significant negative associations were observed between annual BMI change and annual percent density change, with percent density decreasing 0.36% (95% CI -0.74, 0.02) for a one unit increase in BMI over a year. This longitudinal study provides modest evidence that changes in BMI are not associated with changes in dense area, yet may be negatively associated with percent density.

Authors: Reeves KW; Stone RA; Modugno F; Ness RB; Vogel VG; Weissfeld JL; Habel LA; Sternfeld B; Cauley JA

Int J Cancer. 2009 Mar 1;124(5):1169-77.

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