Interval breast cancer risk associations with breast density, family history and breast tissue aging

Tuong L. Nguyen, Shuai Li, Gillian S. Dite, Ye K. Aung, Christopher F. Evans, Ho N. Trinh, Laura Baglietto, Jennifer Stone, Yun Mi Song, Joohon Sung, Dallas R. English, Mark A. Jenkins, Pierre Antoine Dugué, Roger L. Milne, Melissa C. Southey, Graham G. Giles, Malcolm C. Pike, John L. Hopper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Interval breast cancers (those diagnosed between recommended mammography screens) generally have poorer outcomes and are more common among women with dense breasts. We aimed to develop a risk model for interval breast cancer. We conducted a nested case–control study within the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study involving 168 interval breast cancer patients and 498 matched control subjects. We measured breast density using the CUMULUS software. We recorded first-degree family history by questionnaire, measured body mass index (BMI) and calculated age-adjusted breast tissue aging, a novel measure of exposure to estrogen and progesterone based on the Pike model. We fitted conditional logistic regression to estimate odds ratio (OR) or odds ratio per adjusted standard deviation (OPERA) and calculated the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC). The stronger risk associations were for unadjusted percent breast density (OPERA = 1.99; AUC = 0.66), more so after adjusting for age and BMI (OPERA = 2.26; AUC = 0.70), and for family history (OR = 2.70; AUC = 0.56). When the latter two factors and their multiplicative interactions with age-adjusted breast tissue aging (p = 0.01 and 0.02, respectively) were fitted, the AUC was 0.73 (95% CI 0.69–0.77), equivalent to a ninefold interquartile risk ratio. In summary, compared with using dense breasts alone, risk discrimination for interval breast cancers could be doubled by instead using breast density, BMI, family history and hormonal exposure. This would also give women with dense breasts, and their physicians, more information about the major consequence of having dense breasts—an increased risk of developing an interval breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-382
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
Early online date14 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Interval breast cancer risk associations with breast density, family history and breast tissue aging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this