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Association of mammographic density with the proliferation marker Ki-67 in a cohort of patients with invasive breast cancer

: Heusinger, K.; Jud, S.M.; Häberle, L.; Hack, C.C.; Fasching, P.A.; Meier-Meitinger, M.; Lux, M.P.; Hagenbeck, C.; Loehberg, C.R.; Wittenberg, T.; Rauh, C.; Wagner, F.; Uder, M.; Hartmann, A.; Schulz-Wendtland, R.; Beckmann, M.W.; Wachter, D.L.


Breast cancer research and treatment 135 (2012), No.3, pp.885-892
ISSN: 0167-6806
ISSN: 1573-7217
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IIS ()

There is growing evidence that certain breast cancer (BC) risk factors specifically increase the risk for specific molecular tumor subtypes. Different molecular subtypes of BC can partly be described by analyzing proliferation in tumors. Very few data are available regarding the association of mammographic density (MD), as a BC risk factor, with proliferation. The aim of this study was to analyze the association between Ki-67 expression in BCs and MD. In this case-only study, data on BC risk factors, hormone receptor expression, and MD were available for 1,975 patients with incident BC. MD was assessed as percentage mammographic density (PMD) using a semiautomated method by two readers for every patient. The association of the Ki-67 proliferation index and PMD was studied using multifactorial analyses of covariance (ANCOVA), with PMD as the target variable and including well-known factors that are also associated with MD such as age, parity, use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and body mass index (BMI). There were no significant differences in PMD between women with BC who had low and high Ki-67 values (P = 0.31). However, there were relevant differences in women with low BMI (P = 0.07), and in women using postmenopausal HRT (P = 0.06) as well as in women with low PR values (P = 0.07). In these subgroups, the Ki-67 expression index increased with decreasing PMD. Likewise PMD is correlated with BMI, parity status, and menopausal status stronger in patients with low proliferating tumors, and with progesterone receptor expression in patients with high proliferating tumors. MD correlates inversely with Ki-67 proliferation in BC tumors only in some subgroups of BC patients, defined by commonly known BC risk factors that are usually associated with MD as well.