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Br J Cancer. 2004 Jul 19;91(2):233-6.

Interaction of dense breast patterns with other breast cancer risk factors in a case-control study.

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Cancer Research UK, Department of Epidemiology, Mathematics and Statistics, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK.


The question of interactions between breast density and other breast cancer risk factors is of interest, since it bears upon the use of density as a marker for changes in breast cancer risk. We studied breast parenchymal patterns and 13 other potential risk factors for breast cancer in 172 breast cancer cases and 338 age-matched controls in Singapore. Dense breast patterns were defined as having Tabar parenchymal pattern IV or V. We found significant interactions between dense patterns and ethnic group (P=0.046), and between dense patterns and number of deliveries (P=0.04). Among women with nondense breast patterns, the non-Chinese had lower risk than the Chinese with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.47 (95% CI 0.24, 0.88), whereas in those with dense patterns, the non-Chinese had considerably higher risks (OR=5.34, 95% CI 0.54, 52.51). Alternatively expressed, the increased risk with dense patterns was only observed in the non-Chinese (OR=13.99, 95% CI 1.33, 146.99). Among parous women, the protective effect of three or more deliveries was only observed in those with dense breast patterns (OR=0.21, 95% CI 0.06, 0.70). Suggestive but nonsignificant interactions with dense patterns were observed for ever having delivered, age at first delivery, breast feeding and body mass index. The results are consistent with dense breast patterns as a marker for hormonal modification of breast cancer risk.

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