5 years ago

Association between mammographic density and pregnancies relative to age and BMI: a breast cancer case-only analysis

Julius Emons, Arndt Hartmann, Matthias W. Beckmann, Sebastian M. Jud, Alexander Hein, Katharina Heusinger, Felix Heindl, Lothar Haeberle, Rüdiger Schulz-Wendtland, Werner Adler, Michael Uder, Uwe G. Pöhls, Peter A. Fasching, Paul Gass, Carolin C. Hack



Percentage mammographic density (PMD) is a major risk factor for breast cancer (BC). It is strongly associated with body mass index (BMI) and age, which are themselves risk factors for breast cancer. This analysis investigated the association between the number of full-term pregnancies and PMD in different subgroups relative to age and BMI.


Patients were identified in the breast cancer database of the University Breast Center for Franconia. A total of 2410 patients were identified, for whom information on parity, age, and BMI, and a mammogram from the time of first diagnosis were available for assessing PMD. Linear regression analyses were conducted to investigate the influence on PMD of the number of full-term pregnancies (FTPs), age, BMI, and interaction terms between them.


As in previous studies, age, number of FTPs, and BMI were found to be associated with PMD in the expected direction. However, including the respective interaction terms improved the prediction of PMD even further. Specifically, the association between PMD and the number of FTPs differed in young patients under the age of 45 (mean decrease of 0.37 PMD units per pregnancy) from the association in older age groups (mean decrease between 2.29 and 2.39 PMD units). BMI did not alter the association between PMD and the number of FTPs.


The effect of pregnancies on mammographic density does not appear to become apparent before the age of menopause. The mechanism that drives the effect of pregnancies on mammographic density appears to be counter-regulated by other influences on mammographic density in younger patients.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10549-017-4446-7

DOI: 10.1007/s10549-017-4446-7

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