BACKGROUND: We examined whether mammographic density predicts risk of second breast cancers among patients with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). METHODS: The study included DCIS patients diagnosed during 1990 to 1997 and treated with breast-conserving surgery at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Medical records were reviewed for clinical factors and subsequent breast cancers (DCIS and invasive). Ipsilateral mammograms from the index DCIS were assessed for density without knowledge of subsequent cancer status. Cox regression modeling was used to examine the association between mammographic density and risk of breast cancer events. RESULTS: Of the 935 eligible DCIS patients, 164 (18%) had a subsequent ipsilateral breast cancer, and 59 (6%) had a new primary cancer in the contralateral breast during follow-up (median, 103 mo). Those with the greatest total area of density (upper 20% of values) were at increased risk for invasive disease in either breast [hazard ratio (HR), 2.1; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.2-3.8] or any cancer (DCIS or invasive) in the ipsilateral (HR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0-2.9) or contralateral (HR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.3-6.9) breast compared with those with the smallest area of density (bottom 20%). HRs for these same end points comparing those in the highest with those in the lowest American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System category were 1.6 (95% CI, 0.7-3.6), 1.3 (95% CI, 0.7-2.6), and 5.0 (95% CI, 1.4-17.9), respectively. There was a suggestion of increasing risk of contralateral, but not ipsilateral, cancer with increasing percent density. CONCLUSIONS: Women with mammographically dense breasts may be at higher risk of subsequent breast cancer, especially in the contralateral breast. IMPACT: Information about mammographic density may help with DCIS treatment decisions.