Aromatase inhibitor-induced modulation of breast density: Clinical and genetic effects

N. L. Henry, H. P. Chan, J. Dantzer, C. P. Goswami, L. Li, T. C. Skaar, J. M. Rae, Z. Desta, N. Khouri, R. Pinsky, S. Oesterreich, C. Zhou, L. Hadjiiski, S. Philips, J. Robarge, A. T. Nguyen, A. M. Storniolo, D. A. Flockhart, D. F. Hayes, M. A. HelvieV. Stearns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background:Change in breast density may predict outcome of women receiving adjuvant hormone therapy for breast cancer. We performed a prospective clinical trial to evaluate the impact of inherited variants in genes involved in oestrogen metabolism and signalling on change in mammographic percent density (MPD) with aromatase inhibitor (AI) therapy.Methods:Postmenopausal women with breast cancer who were initiating adjuvant AI therapy were enrolled onto a multicentre, randomised clinical trial of exemestane vs letrozole, designed to identify associations between AI-induced change in MPD and single-nucleotide polymorphisms in candidate genes. Subjects underwent unilateral craniocaudal mammography before and following 24 months of treatment.Results:Of the 503 enrolled subjects, 259 had both paired mammograms at baseline and following 24 months of treatment and evaluable DNA. We observed a statistically significant decrease in mean MPD from 17.1 to 15.1% (P<0.001), more pronounced in women with baseline MPD ≥20%. No AI-specific difference in change in MPD was identified. No significant associations between change in MPD and inherited genetic variants were observed.Conclusion:Subjects with higher baseline MPD had a greater average decrease in MPD with AI therapy. There does not appear to be a substantial effect of inherited variants in biologically selected candidate genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2331-2339
Number of pages9
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 29 2013


  • aromatase inhibitor
  • breast cancer
  • breast density
  • mammogram
  • polymorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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