Dose-dependent effect of mammographic breast density on the risk of contralateral breast cancer

Marzana Chowdhury, David Euhus, Maureen O’Donnell, Tracy Onega, Pankaj K. Choudhary, Swati Biswas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: Increased mammographic breast density is a significant risk factor for breast cancer. It is not clear if it is also a risk factor for the development of contralateral breast cancer. Methods: The data were obtained from Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium and included women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ between ages 18 and 88 and years 1995 and 2009. Each case of contralateral breast cancer was matched with three controls based on year of first breast cancer diagnosis, race, and length of follow-up. A total of 847 cases and 2541 controls were included. The risk factors included in the study were mammographic breast density, age of first breast cancer diagnosis, family history of breast cancer, anti-estrogen treatment, hormone replacement therapy, menopausal status, and estrogen receptor status, all from the time of first breast cancer diagnosis. Both univariate analysis and multivariate conditional logistic regression analysis were performed. Results: In the final multivariate model, breast density, family history of breast cancer, and anti-estrogen treatment remained significant with p values less than 0.01. Increasing breast density had a dose-dependent effect on the risk of contralateral breast cancer. Relative to ‘almost entirely fat’ category of breast density, the adjusted odds ratios (and p values) in the multivariate analysis for ‘scattered density,’ ‘heterogeneously dense,’ and ‘extremely dense’ categories were 1.65 (0.036), 2.10 (0.002), and 2.32 (0.001), respectively. Conclusion: Breast density is an independent and significant risk factor for development of contralateral breast cancer. This risk factor should contribute to clinical decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-148
Number of pages6
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018



  • Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium
  • Breast density
  • Contralateral breast cancer
  • Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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