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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Apr;132(3):1163-71. doi: 10.1007/s10549-011-1929-9. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

Mammographic density, parity and age at first birth, and risk of breast cancer: an analysis of four case-control studies.

Author information

1
Departments of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Pediatrics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada. christy.woolcott@dal.ca

Abstract

Mammographic density is strongly and consistently associated with breast cancer risk. To determine if this association was modified by reproductive factors (parity and age at first birth), data were combined from four case-control studies conducted in the United States and Japan. To overcome the issue of variation in mammographic density assessment among the studies, a single observer re-read all the mammograms using one type of interactive thresholding software. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) while adjusting for other known breast cancer risk factors. Included were 1,699 breast cancer cases and 2,422 controls, 74% of whom were postmenopausal. A positive association between mammographic density and breast cancer risk was evident in every group defined by parity and age at first birth (OR per doubling of percent mammographic density ranged between 1.20 and 1.39). Nonetheless, the association appeared to be stronger among nulliparous than parous women (OR per doubling of percent mammographic density = 1.39 vs. 1.24; P interaction = 0.054). However, when examined by study location, the effect modification by parity was apparent only in women from Hawaii and when examined by menopausal status, it was apparent in postmenopausal, but not premenopausal, women. Effect modification by parity was not significant in subgroups defined by body mass index or ethnicity. Adjusting for mammographic density did not attenuate the OR for the association between parity and breast cancer risk by more than 16.4%, suggesting that mammographic density explains only a small proportion of the reduction in breast cancer risk associated with parity. In conclusion, this study did not support the hypothesis that parity modifies the breast cancer risk attributed to mammographic density. Even though an effect modification was found in Hawaiian women, no such thing was found in women from the other three locations.

PMID:
22222356
PMCID:
PMC3336030
DOI:
10.1007/s10549-011-1929-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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