Publications by authors named "Gretchen L Gierach"

126 Publications

Relation of Quantitative Histologic and Radiologic Breast Tissue Composition Metrics With Invasive Breast Cancer Risk.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2021 Jun 6;5(3):pkab015. Epub 2021 Feb 6.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, USA.

Background: Benign breast disease (BBD) is a strong breast cancer risk factor, but identifying patients that might develop invasive breast cancer remains a challenge.

Methods: By applying machine-learning to digitized hematoxylin and eosin-stained biopsies and computer-assisted thresholding to mammograms obtained circa BBD diagnosis, we generated quantitative tissue composition metrics and determined their association with future invasive breast cancer diagnosis. Archival breast biopsies and mammograms were obtained for women (18-86 years of age) in a case-control study, nested within a cohort of 15 395 BBD patients from Kaiser Permanente Northwest (1970-2012), followed through mid-2015. Patients who developed incident invasive breast cancer (ie, cases; n = 514) and those who did not (ie, controls; n = 514) were matched on BBD diagnosis age and plan membership duration. All statistical tests were 2-sided.

Results: Increasing epithelial area on the BBD biopsy was associated with increasing breast cancer risk (odds ratio [OR] = 1.85, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.13 to 3.04; = .02). Conversely, increasing stroma was associated with decreased risk in nonproliferative, but not proliferative, BBD ( = .002). Increasing epithelium-to-stroma proportion (OR = 2.06, 95% CI =1.28 to 3.33; = .002) and percent mammographic density (MBD) (OR = 2.20, 95% CI = 1.20 to 4.03; = .01) were independently and strongly predictive of increased breast cancer risk. In combination, women with high epithelium-to-stroma proportion and high MBD had substantially higher risk than those with low epithelium-to-stroma proportion and low MBD (OR = 2.27, 95% CI = 1.27 to 4.06; = .005), particularly among women with nonproliferative ( = .01) vs proliferative ( = .33) BBD.

Conclusion: Among BBD patients, increasing epithelium-to-stroma proportion on BBD biopsies and percent MBD at BBD diagnosis were independently and jointly associated with increasing breast cancer risk. These findings were particularly striking for women with nonproliferative disease (comprising approximately 70% of all BBD patients), for whom relevant predictive biomarkers are lacking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkab015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8103888PMC
June 2021

Dairy foods, calcium, and risk of breast cancer overall and for subtypes defined by estrogen receptor status: a pooled analysis of 21 cohort studies.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 May 8. Epub 2021 May 8.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Background: Epidemiologic studies examining the relations between dairy product and calcium intakes and breast cancer have been inconclusive, especially for tumor subtypes.

Objective: To evaluate the associations between intakes of specific dairy products and calcium and risk of breast cancer overall and for subtypes defined by estrogen receptor (ER) status.

Method: We pooled the individual-level data of over 1 million women who were followed for a maximum of 8-20 years across studies. Associations were evaluated for dairy product and calcium intakes and risk of incident invasive breast cancer overall (n = 37,861 cases) and by subtypes defined by ER status. Study-specific multivariable hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated and then combined using random-effects models.

Results: Overall, no clear association was observed between the consumption of specific dairy foods, dietary (from foods only) calcium, and total (from foods and supplements) calcium, and risk of overall breast cancer. Although each dairy product showed a null or very weak inverse association with risk of overall breast cancer (P, test for trend >0.05 for all), differences by ER status were suggested for yogurt and cottage/ricotta cheese with associations observed for ER-negative tumors only (pooled HR = 0.90, 95% CI: 0.83, 0.98 comparing ≥60 g/d with <1 g/d of yogurt and 0.85, 95% CI: 0.76, 0.95 comparing ≥25 g/d with <1 g/d of cottage/ricotta cheese). Dietary calcium intake was only weakly associated with breast cancer risk (pooled HR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.97, 0.99 per 350 mg/d).

Conclusion: Our study shows that adult dairy or calcium consumption is unlikely to associate with a higher risk of breast cancer and that higher yogurt and cottage/ricotta cheese intakes were inversely associated with the risk of ER-negative breast cancer, a less hormonally dependent subtype with poor prognosis. Future studies on fermented dairy products, earlier life exposures, ER-negative breast cancer, and different racial/ethnic populations may further elucidate the relation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab097DOI Listing
May 2021

Risk factors for contralateral breast cancer in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.

Cancer Causes Control 2021 Apr 20. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Radiation Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Purpose: The role of established breast cancer risk factors and clinical characteristics of the first breast cancer in the development of contralateral breast cancer (CBC) among postmenopausal women is unclear.

Methods: We identified 10,934 postmenopausal women diagnosed with a first primary breast cancer between 1995 and 2011 in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. CBC was defined as a second primary breast cancer diagnosed in the contralateral breast ≥ 3 months after the first breast cancer. Exposures included pre-diagnosis risk factors (lifestyle, reproductive, family history) and clinical characteristics of the first breast cancer. We used multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: Over a median follow-up of 6.8 years, 436 women developed CBC. We observed an increasing trend in CBC risk by age (p-trend = 0.002) and decreasing trend by year of diagnosis (p-trend = 0.001) of the first breast cancer. Additional risk factor associations were most pronounced for endocrine therapy (HR 0.68, 95% CI 0.53-0.87) and family history of breast cancer (HR 1.38, 95% CI 1.06-1.80, restricted to invasive first breast cancer). No associations were found for lifestyle (body mass index, physical activity, smoking, alcohol) or reproductive factors (age at menarche, parity, age at first birth, age at menopause).

Conclusions: This study suggests that clinical characteristics of the first breast cancer and family history of breast cancer, but not pre-diagnosis lifestyle and reproductive factors, are strongly associated with CBC risk among postmenopausal women. Future studies are needed to understand how these factors contribute to CBC etiology and to identify further opportunities for prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10552-021-01432-2DOI Listing
April 2021

Body Mass Index and Risk of Second Cancer among Women with Breast Cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 04 5. Epub 2021 Apr 5.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD.

Background: Breast cancer survivors are at increased risk for developing second primary cancers compared to the general population. Little is known about whether body mass index (BMI) increases this risk. We examined the association between BMI and second cancers among women with incident invasive breast cancer.

Methods: This retrospective cohort included 6,481 patients from Kaiser Permanente Colorado and Washington of whom 822 (12.7%) developed a second cancer (mean follow-up was 88.0 months). BMI at the first cancer was extracted from the medical record. Outcomes included: 1) all second cancers, 2) obesity-related second cancers, 3) any second breast cancer, and 4) estrogen receptor (ER)-positive second breast cancers. Multivariable Poisson regression models were used to estimate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for second cancers associated with BMI adjusted for site, diagnosis year, treatment, demographic, and tumor characteristics.

Results: The mean age at initial breast cancer diagnosis was 61.2 (standard deviation = 11.8) years. Most cases were overweight (33.4%) or obese (33.8%) and diagnosed at stage I (62.0%). In multivariable models, for every 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI, the risk of any second cancer diagnosis increased by 7% (RR = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.01 to 1.14); 13% (RR = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.05 to 1.21) for obesity-related cancers; 11% (RR = 1.11, 95% CI = 1.02 to 1.21) for a second breast cancer, and 15% (RR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.27) for a second ER-positive breast cancer.

Conclusion: We observed a statistically significant increased risk of second cancers associated with increasing BMI. These findings have important public health implications given the prevalence of overweight and obesity in breast cancer survivors and underscore the need for effective prevention strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab053DOI Listing
April 2021

Risk factors for breast cancer development by tumor characteristics among women with benign breast disease.

Breast Cancer Res 2021 Mar 18;23(1):34. Epub 2021 Mar 18.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Belfer Building, Room 1301, Bronx, NY, 10461, USA.

Background: Among women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, 30% have a prior diagnosis of benign breast disease (BBD). Thus, it is important to identify factors among BBD patients that elevate invasive cancer risk. In the general population, risk factors differ in their associations by clinical pathologic features; however, whether women with BBD show etiologic heterogeneity in the types of breast cancers they develop remains unknown.

Methods: Using a nested case-control study of BBD and breast cancer risk conducted in a community healthcare plan (Kaiser Permanente Northwest), we assessed relationships of histologic features in BBD biopsies and patient characteristics with subsequent breast cancer risk and tested for heterogeneity of associations by estrogen receptor (ER) status, tumor grade, and size. The study included 514 invasive breast cancer cases (median follow-up of 9 years post-BBD diagnosis) and 514 matched controls, diagnosed with proliferative or non-proliferative BBD between 1971 and 2006, with follow-up through mid-2015. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were obtained using multivariable polytomous logistic regression models.

Results: Breast cancers were predominantly ER-positive (86%), well or moderately differentiated (73%), small (74% < 20 mm), and stage I/II (91%). Compared to patients with non-proliferative BBD, proliferative BBD with atypia conferred increased risk for ER-positive cancer (OR = 5.48, 95% CI = 2.14-14.01) with only one ER-negative case, P-heterogeneity = 0.45. The presence of columnar cell lesions (CCLs) at BBD diagnosis was associated with a 1.5-fold increase in the risk of both ER-positive and ER-negative tumors, with a 2-fold increase (95% CI = 1.21-3.58) observed among postmenopausal women (56%), independent of proliferative BBD status with and without atypia. We did not identify statistically significant differences in risk factor associations by tumor grade or size.

Conclusion: Most tumors that developed after a BBD diagnosis in this cohort were highly treatable low-stage ER-positive tumors. CCL in BBD biopsies may be associated with moderately increased risk, independent of BBD histology, and irrespective of ER status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-021-01410-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7977564PMC
March 2021

Risk of contralateral breast cancer according to first breast cancer characteristics among women in the USA, 1992-2016.

Breast Cancer Res 2021 Feb 17;23(1):24. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Radiation Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Background: Estimates of contralateral breast cancer (CBC) risk in the modern treatment era by year of diagnosis and characteristics of the first breast cancer are needed to assess the impact of recent advances in breast cancer treatment and inform clinical decision making.

Methods: We examined CBC risk among 419,818 women (age 30-84 years) who were diagnosed with a first unilateral invasive breast cancer and survived ≥ 1 year in the US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program cancer registries from 1992 to 2015 (follow-up through 2016). CBC was defined as a second invasive breast cancer in the contralateral breast ≥ 12 months after the first breast cancer. We estimated standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) of CBC by year of diagnosis, age at diagnosis, and tumor characteristics for the first breast cancer. Cumulative incidence of CBC was calculated for women diagnosed with a first breast cancer in the recent treatment era (2004-2015, follow-up through 2016).

Results: Over a median follow-up of 8 years (range 1-25 years), 12,986 breast cancer patients developed CBC. Overall, breast cancer patients had approximately twice the risk of developing cancer in the contralateral breast when compared to that expected in the general population (SIR = 2.21, 95% CI = 2.17-2.25). SIRs for CBC declined by year of first diagnosis, irrespective of age at diagnosis and estrogen receptor (ER) status (p-trends < 0.001), but the strongest decline was after an ER-positive tumor. The 5-year cumulative incidence of CBC ranged from 1.01% (95% CI = 0.90-1.14%) in younger women (age < 50 years) with a first ER-positive tumor to 1.89% (95% CI = 1.61-2.21%) in younger women with a first ER-negative tumor.

Conclusion: Declines in CBC risk are consistent with continued advances in breast cancer treatment. The updated estimates of cumulative incidence inform breast cancer patients and clinicians on the risk of CBC and may help guide treatment decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-021-01400-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7890613PMC
February 2021

Breast Cancer Incidence Trends by Estrogen Receptor Status Among Asian American Ethnic Groups, 1990-2014.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2020 Apr 6;4(2):pkaa005. Epub 2020 Feb 6.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Background: Westernization and etiologic heterogeneity may play a role in the rising breast cancer incidence in Asian American (AA) women. We report breast cancer incidence in Asian-origin populations.

Methods: Using a specialized Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-9 Plus API Database (1990-2014), we analyzed breast cancer incidence overall, by estrogen receptor (ER) status, and age group among non-Hispanic white (NHW) and AA women. We used age-period-cohort models to assess time trends and quantify heterogeneity by ER status, race and ethnicity, and age.

Results: Overall, breast cancer incidence increased for most AA ethnicities (Filipina: estimated annual percentage change [EAPC] = 0.96%/year, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.61% to 1.32%; South Asian: EAPC = 1.68%/year, 95% CI = 0.24% to 3.13%; Chinese: EAPC = 0.65%/year, 95% CI = 0.03% to 1.27%; Korean: EAPC = 2.55%/year, 95% CI = 0.13% to 5.02%; and Vietnamese women: EAPC = 0.88%/year, 95% CI = 0.37% to 1.38%); rates did not change for NHW (EAPC = -0.2%/year, 95% CI = -0.73% to 0.33%) or Japanese women (EAPC = 0.22%/year, 95% CI = -1.26% to 1.72%). For most AA ethnicities, ER-positive rates statistically significantly increased, whereas ER-negative rates statistically significantly decreased. Among older women, ER-positive rates were stable for NHW and Japanese women. ER-negative rates decreased fastest in NHW and Japanese women among both age groups.

Conclusions: Increasing ER-positive incidence is driving an increase overall for most AA women despite declining ER-negative incidence. The similar trends in NHW and Japanese women (vs other AA ethnic groups) highlight the need to better understand the influences of westernization and other etiologic factors on breast cancer incidence patterns in AA women. Heterogeneous trends among AA ethnicities underscore the importance of disaggregating AA data and studying how breast cancer differentially affects the growing populations of diverse AA ethnic groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkaa005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7192028PMC
April 2020

Use of postmenopausal hormone therapies and risk of histology- and hormone receptor-defined breast cancer: results from a 15-year prospective analysis of NIH-AARP cohort.

Breast Cancer Res 2020 11 25;22(1):129. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, 9609 Medical Center Dr. rm 6E344, Bethesda, MD, 20892-9768, USA.

Background: Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) increases breast cancer (BC) risk, but cohort studies largely consider use only at enrollment. Evidence is limited on how changes in MHT use alter the magnitude of risk, and whether risk varies between invasive and in situ cancer, by histology or by hormone receptor status.

Methods: We investigated the roles of estrogen-alone therapy (ET) and estrogen plus progestin therapy (EPT) on BC risk overall, by histology and estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) status, and on incidence of in situ disease, in the NIH-AARP cohort. Participants included 118,760 postmenopausal women (50-71 years), of whom 63.5% (n = 75,398) provided MHT use information at baseline in 1996 and in a follow-up survey in 2004, subsequent to the dissemination in 2002 of the Women's Health Initiative trial safety concerns regarding EPT. ET analyses included 50,476 women with hysterectomy (31,439 with follow-up data); EPT analyses included 68,284 women with intact uteri (43,959 with follow-up data). Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models using age as the time metric with follow-up through 2011.

Results: Eight thousand three hundred thirty-three incident BC cases were accrued, 2479 in women with follow-up data. BC risk was not elevated in current ET users at baseline (HR = 1.05, 95% confidence interval [CI] CI = 0.95-1.16) but was higher in women continuing use through 2004 (HR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.04-1.75). Ever EPT use at baseline was associated with elevated BC risk overall (HR = 1.54 (1.44-1.64), with a doubling in risk for women with 10 or more years of use, for in situ disease, and across subtypes defined by histology and ER/PR status (all p < 0.004). Risk persisted in women who continued EPT through 2004 (HR = 1.80, 95% CI = 1.39-2.32). In contrast, no association was seen in women who discontinued EPT before 2004 (HR = 1.14, 95% CI = 0.99-1.30).

Conclusions: ET use was not associated with BC risk in this cohort, although excess risk was suggested in women who continued use through 2004. EPT use was linked to elevated in situ and invasive BC risk, and elevated risk across invasive BC histologic and hormone receptor-defined subtypes, with the highest risk for women who continued use through the 2004 follow-up survey.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-020-01365-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7687781PMC
November 2020

Pregnancy outcomes and risk of endometrial cancer: A pooled analysis of individual participant data in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium.

Int J Cancer 2021 May 17;148(9):2068-2078. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Orbassano, Italy.

A full-term pregnancy is associated with reduced endometrial cancer risk; however, whether the effect of additional pregnancies is independent of age at last pregnancy is unknown. The associations between other pregnancy-related factors and endometrial cancer risk are less clear. We pooled individual participant data from 11 cohort and 19 case-control studies participating in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium (E2C2) including 16 986 women with endometrial cancer and 39 538 control women. We used one- and two-stage meta-analytic approaches to estimate pooled odds ratios (ORs) for the association between exposures and endometrial cancer risk. Ever having a full-term pregnancy was associated with a 41% reduction in risk of endometrial cancer compared to never having a full-term pregnancy (OR = 0.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.56-0.63). The risk reduction appeared the greatest for the first full-term pregnancy (OR = 0.78, 95% CI 0.72-0.84), with a further ~15% reduction per pregnancy up to eight pregnancies (OR = 0.20, 95% CI 0.14-0.28) that was independent of age at last full-term pregnancy. Incomplete pregnancy was also associated with decreased endometrial cancer risk (7%-9% reduction per pregnancy). Twin births appeared to have the same effect as singleton pregnancies. Our pooled analysis shows that, while the magnitude of the risk reduction is greater for a full-term pregnancy than an incomplete pregnancy, each additional pregnancy is associated with further reduction in endometrial cancer risk, independent of age at last full-term pregnancy. These results suggest that the very high progesterone level in the last trimester of pregnancy is not the sole explanation for the protective effect of pregnancy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33360DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7969437PMC
May 2021

Outdoor air pollution and terminal duct lobular involution of the normal breast.

Breast Cancer Res 2020 09 24;22(1):100. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 111 TW Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709, USA.

Background: Exposure to certain outdoor air pollutants may be associated with a higher risk of breast cancer, though potential underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We examined whether outdoor air pollution was associated with involution of terminal duct lobular units (TDLUs), the histologic site where most cancers arise and an intermediate marker of breast cancer risk.

Methods: Pathologist-enumerated TDLUs were assessed in H&E (hematoxylin and eosin)-stained breast tissue sections from 1904 US women ages 18-75 who donated to the Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank (2009-2012). The 2009 annual fine particulate matter < 2.5 μm in diameter (PM) total mass (μg/m) at each woman's residential address was estimated from the Environmental Protection Agency's Downscaler Model combining Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) System modeling with air quality monitoring data. We secondarily considered CMAQ-modeled components of PM and gaseous pollutants. We used K-means clustering to identify groups of individuals with similar levels of PM components, selecting groups via cluster stability analysis. Relative rates (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for the association between air pollutants and TDLU counts were estimated from a zero-inflated negative binomial regression model adjusted for potential confounders.

Results: PM total mass was associated with higher TDLU counts among all women (interquartile range (IQR) increase, RR = 1.06; 95% CI: 1.01-1.11). This association was evident among both premenopausal and postmenopausal women (premenopausal RR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.00-1.11; postmenopausal RR = 1.11, 95% CI: 1.00-1.23). We identified 3 groups corresponding to clusters that varied geographically and roughly represented high, medium, and low levels of PM components relative to population mean levels. Compared to the cluster with low levels, the clusters with both high (RR = 1.74; 95% CI: 1.08-2.80) and medium (RR = 1.82; 95% CI: 1.13-2.93) levels were associated with higher TDLU counts; although not significantly different, the magnitude of the associations was stronger among postmenopausal women.

Conclusions: Higher PM levels were associated with reduced TDLU involution as measured by TDLU counts. Air pollution exposure may influence the histologic characteristics of normal tissue which could in turn affect breast cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-020-01339-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7513536PMC
September 2020

Polygenic risk score for the prediction of breast cancer is related to lesser terminal duct lobular unit involution of the breast.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2020 7;6:41. Epub 2020 Sep 7.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD USA.

Terminal duct lobular units (TDLUs) are the predominant anatomical structures where breast cancers originate. Having lesser degrees of age-related TDLU involution, measured as higher TDLUs counts or more epithelial TDLU substructures (acini), is related to increased breast cancer risk among women with benign breast disease (BBD). We evaluated whether a recently developed polygenic risk score (PRS) based on 313-common variants for breast cancer prediction is related to TDLU involution in the background, normal breast tissue, as this could provide mechanistic clues on the genetic predisposition to breast cancer. Among 1398 women without breast cancer, higher values of the PRS were significantly associated with higher TDLU counts ( = 0.004), but not with acini counts ( = 0.808), in histologically normal tissue samples from donors and diagnostic BBD biopsies. Mediation analysis indicated that TDLU counts may explain a modest proportion (≤10%) of the association of the 313-variant PRS with breast cancer risk. These findings suggest that TDLU involution might be an intermediate step in the association between common genetic variation and breast cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-020-00184-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477555PMC
September 2020

The Association Between Periodontal Disease and Breast Cancer in a Prospective Cohort Study.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2020 12 29;13(12):1007-1016. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.

Periodontal disease may be associated with increased breast cancer risk, but studies have not considered invasive breast cancer and ductal carcinoma (DCIS) separately in the same population. We assessed the relationship between periodontal disease and breast cancer in a large prospective cohort study. The Sister Study followed women without prior breast cancer ages 35 to 74 years from 2003 to 2017 ( = 49,968). Baseline periodontal disease was self-reported, and incident breast cancer was ascertained over a mean follow-up of 9.3 years. We estimated hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using Cox proportional hazards regression, adjusting for multiple potential confounders, including smoking status. Heterogeneity in risk for invasive breast cancer versus DCIS was also estimated. About 22% of participants reported a history of periodontal disease at baseline. A total of 3,339 incident breast cancers (2,607 invasive breast cancer, 732 DCIS) were identified. There was no clear association between periodontal disease and overall breast cancer risk (HR = 1.02; 95% CI, 0.94-1.11). However, we observed a nonstatistically significant suggestive increased risk of invasive breast cancer (HR = 1.07; 95% CI, 0.97-1.17) and decreased risk of DCIS (HR = 0.86; 95% CI, 0.72-1.04) associated with periodontal disease, with evidence for heterogeneity in the risk associations (relative HR for invasive breast cancer versus DCIS = 1.24; 95% CI, 1.01-1.52). A case-only analysis for etiologic heterogeneity confirmed this difference. We observed no clear association between periodontal disease and overall breast cancer risk. The heterogeneity in risk associations for invasive breast cancer versus DCIS warrants further exploration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-20-0018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7718282PMC
December 2020

Obesity and related conditions and risk of inflammatory breast cancer: a nested case-control study.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2020 Sep 20;183(2):467-478. Epub 2020 Jul 20.

Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, CA, USA.

Purpose: Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare, poorly understood and aggressive tumor. We extended prior findings linking high body mass index (BMI) to substantial increased IBC risk by examining BMI associations before and after adjustment for well-characterized comorbidities using medical record data for diabetes, insulin resistance, and disturbances of cholesterol metabolism in a general community healthcare setting.

Methods: We identified 247 incident IBC cases diagnosed at Kaiser Permanente Northern California between 2005 and 2017 and 2470 controls matched 10:1 on birth year and geographic area and with ≥ 13 months of continuous enrollment prior to diagnosis/index date. We assessed exposures from 6 years up to one year prior to the diagnosis/index date, using logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: Before adjustment for comorbidities, ORs (95% CIs) for BMI of 25-< 30, 30-< 35, and ≥ 35 compared to < 25 kg/m were 1.5 (0.9-2.3), 2.0 (1.2-3.1), and 2.5 (1.4-4.4), respectively. After adjustment for pre-diabetes/diabetes, HDL-C and triglyceride levels, and dyslipidemia, corresponding ORs were 1.3 (0.8-2.1), 1.6 (0.9-2.9), and 1.9 (1.0-3.5). The OR for HDL-C levels < 50 mg/dL compared to ≥ 65 mg/dL was 2.0 (1.2-3.3) in the adjusted model. In a separate model the OR for a triglyceride/HDL-C ratio ≥ 2.50 compared to < 1.62 was 1.7 (1.1-2.8) after adjustment for BMI, pre-diabetes/diabetes, and dyslipidemia. Results did not differ significantly by estrogen receptor status.

Conclusions: Obesity and measures of insulin resistance independently increased IBC risk as did obesity and low HDL-C levels. These findings, if confirmed, have implications for IBC prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-020-05785-1DOI Listing
September 2020

Association of Circulating Progesterone With Breast Cancer Risk Among Postmenopausal Women.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 04 1;3(4):e203645. Epub 2020 Apr 1.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.

Importance: The role of endogenous progesterone in the development of breast cancer remains largely unexplored to date, primarily owing to assay sensitivity limitations and low progesterone concentrations in postmenopausal women. Recently identified progesterone metabolites may provide insights as experimental data suggest that 5α-dihydroprogesterone (5αP) concentrations reflect cancer-promoting properties and 3α-dihydroprogesterone (3αHP) concentrations reflect cancer-inhibiting properties.

Objective: To evaluate the association between circulating progesterone and progesterone metabolite levels and breast cancer risk.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Using a sensitive liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry assay, prediagnostic serum levels of progesterone and progesterone metabolites were quantified in a case-cohort study nested within the Breast and Bone Follow-up to the Fracture Intervention Trial (n = 15 595). Participation was limited to women not receiving exogenous hormone therapy at the time of blood sampling (1992-1993). Incident breast cancer cases (n = 405) were diagnosed during 12 follow-up years and a subcohort of 495 postmenopausal women were randomly selected within 10-year age and clinical center strata. Progesterone assays were completed in July 2017; subsequent data analyses were conducted between July 15, 2017, and December 20, 2018.

Exposures: Circulating concentrations of pregnenolone, progesterone, and their major metabolites.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Development of breast cancer, with hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs was estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression adjusted for key confounders, including estradiol. Evaluation of hormone ratios and effect modification were planned a priori.

Results: The present study included 405 incident breast cancer cases and a subcohort of 495 postmenopausal women; the mean (SD) age at the time of the blood draw was 67.2 (6.2) years. Progesterone concentrations were a mean (SD) of 4.6 (1.7) ng/dL. Women with higher circulating progesterone levels were at an increased risk for breast cancer per SD increase in progesterone levels (HR, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.00-1.35; P = .048). The association with progesterone was linear in a 5-knot spline and stronger for invasive breast cancers (n = 267) (HR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.07-1.43; P = .004). Among women in the lowest quintile (Q1) of circulating estradiol (<6.30 pg/mL) elevated progesterone concentrations were associated with reduced breast cancer risk per SD increase in progesterone levels (HR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.15-0.95; P = .04) and increased risk among women in higher quintiles of estradiol (Q2-Q5; ≥6.30 pg/mL) (HR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.04-1.35; P = .01; P = .04 for interaction).

Conclusions And Relevance: In this case-cohort study of postmenopausal women, elevated circulating progesterone levels were associated with a 16% increase in the risk of breast cancer. Additional research should be undertaken to assess how postmenopausal breast cancer risk is associated with both endogenous progesterone and progesterone metabolites and their interactions with estradiol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.3645DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7182797PMC
April 2020

Using Whole Breast Ultrasound Tomography to Improve Breast Cancer Risk Assessment: A Novel Risk Factor Based on the Quantitative Tissue Property of Sound Speed.

J Clin Med 2020 Jan 29;9(2). Epub 2020 Jan 29.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Mammographic percent density (MPD) is an independent risk factor for developing breast cancer, but its inclusion in clinical risk models provides only modest improvements in individualized risk prediction, and MPD is not typically assessed in younger women because of ionizing radiation concerns. Previous studies have shown that tissue sound speed, derived from whole breast ultrasound tomography (UST), a non-ionizing modality, is a potential surrogate marker of breast density, but prior to this study, sound speed has not been directly linked to breast cancer risk. To that end, we explored the relation of sound speed and MPD with breast cancer risk in a case-control study, including 61 cases with recent breast cancer diagnoses and a comparison group of 165 women, frequency matched to cases on age, race, and menopausal status, and with a recent negative mammogram and no personal history of breast cancer. Multivariable odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated for the relation of quartiles of MPD and sound speed with breast cancer risk adjusted for matching factors. Elevated MPD was associated with increased breast cancer risk, although the trend did not reach statistical significance (OR per quartile = 1.27, 95% CI: 0.95, 1.70; p = 0.10). In contrast, elevated sound speed was significantly associated with breast cancer risk in a dose-response fashion (OR per quartile = 1.83, 95% CI: 1.32, 2.54; p = 0.0003). The OR trend for sound speed was statistically significantly different from that observed for MPD ( = 0.005). These findings suggest that whole breast sound speed may be more strongly associated with breast cancer risk than MPD and offer future opportunities for refining the magnitude and precision of risk associations in larger, population-based studies, including women younger than usual screening ages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9020367DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7074100PMC
January 2020

Relationship of Serum Progesterone and Progesterone Metabolites with Mammographic Breast Density and Terminal Ductal Lobular Unit Involution among Women Undergoing Diagnostic Breast Biopsy.

J Clin Med 2020 Jan 17;9(1). Epub 2020 Jan 17.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

The association of progesterone/progesterone metabolites with elevated mammographic breast density (MBD) and delayed age-related terminal duct lobular unit (TDLU) involution, strong breast cancer risk factors, has received limited attention. Using a reliable liquid chromatography-tandem mass-spectrometry assay, we quantified serum progesterone/progesterone metabolites and explored cross-sectional relationships with MBD and TDLU involution among women, ages 40-65, undergoing diagnostic breast biopsy. Quantitative MBD measures were estimated in pre-biopsy digital mammograms. TDLU involution was quantified in diagnostic biopsies. Adjusted partial correlations and trends across MBD/TDLU categories were calculated. Pregnenolone was positively associated with percent MBD-area (MBD-A, rho: 0.30; p-trend = 0.01) among premenopausal luteal phase women. Progesterone tended to be positively associated with percent MBD-A among luteal phase (rho: 0.26; p-trend = 0.07) and postmenopausal (rho: 0.17; p-trend = 0.04) women. Consistent with experimental data, implicating an elevated 5α-pregnanes/3α-dihydroprogesterone (5αP/3αHP) metabolite ratio in breast cancer, higher 5αP/3αHP was associated with elevated percent MBD-A among luteal phase (rho: 0.29; p-trend = 0.08), but not postmenopausal women. This exploratory analysis provided some evidence that endogenous progesterone and progesterone metabolites might be correlated with MBD, a strong breast cancer risk factor, in both pre- and postmenopausal women undergoing breast biopsy. Additional studies are needed to understand the role of progesterone/progesterone metabolites in breast tissue composition and breast cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9010245DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019918PMC
January 2020

Application of convolutional neural networks to breast biopsies to delineate tissue correlates of mammographic breast density.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2019 19;5:43. Epub 2019 Nov 19.

2Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD USA.

Breast density, a breast cancer risk factor, is a radiologic feature that reflects fibroglandular tissue content relative to breast area or volume. Its histology is incompletely characterized. Here we use deep learning approaches to identify histologic correlates in radiologically-guided biopsies that may underlie breast density and distinguish cancer among women with elevated and low density. We evaluated hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained digitized images from image-guided breast biopsies ( = 852 patients). Breast density was assessed as global and localized fibroglandular volume (%). A convolutional neural network characterized H&E composition. In total 37 features were extracted from the network output, describing tissue quantities and morphological structure. A random forest regression model was trained to identify correlates most predictive of fibroglandular volume ( = 588). Correlations between predicted and radiologically quantified fibroglandular volume were assessed in 264 independent patients. A second random forest classifier was trained to predict diagnosis (invasive vs. benign); performance was assessed using area under receiver-operating characteristics curves (AUC). Using extracted features, regression models predicted global ( = 0.94) and localized ( = 0.93) fibroglandular volume, with fat and non-fatty stromal content representing the strongest correlates, followed by epithelial organization rather than quantity. For predicting cancer among high and low fibroglandular volume, the classifier achieved AUCs of 0.92 and 0.84, respectively, with epithelial organizational features ranking most important. These results suggest non-fatty stroma, fat tissue quantities and epithelial region organization predict fibroglandular volume. The model holds promise for identifying histological correlates of cancer risk in patients with high and low density and warrants further evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-019-0134-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6864056PMC
November 2019

Toward Risk-Stratified Breast Cancer Screening: Considerations for Changes in Screening Guidelines.

JAMA Oncol 2020 Jan;6(1):31-33

Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.3820DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8170848PMC
January 2020

Involution of Breast Lobules, Mammographic Breast Density and Prognosis Among Tamoxifen-Treated Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer Patients.

J Clin Med 2019 Nov 4;8(11). Epub 2019 Nov 4.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Mammographic breast density (MD) reflects breast fibroglandular content. Its decline following adjuvant tamoxifen treated, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer has been associated with improved outcomes. Breast cancers arise from structures termed lobules, and lower MD is associated with increased age-related lobule involution. We assessed whether pre-treatment involution influenced associations between MD decline and risk of breast cancer-specific death. ER-positive tamoxifen treated patients diagnosed at Kaiser Permanente Northwest (1990-2008) were defined as cases who died of breast cancer ( = 54) and matched controls (remained alive over similar follow-up; = 180). Lobule involution was assessed by examining terminal duct lobular units (TDLUs) in benign tissues surrounding cancers as TDLU count/mm, median span and acini count/TDLU. MD (%) was measured in the unaffected breast at baseline (median 6-months before) and follow-up (median 12-months after tamoxifen initiation). TDLU measures and baseline MD were positively associated among controls ( < 0.05). In multivariable regression models, MD decline (≥10%) was associated with reduced risk of breast cancer-specific death before (odds ratio (OR): 0.41, 95% CI: 0.18-0.92) and after (OR: 0.41, 95% CI: 0.18-0.94) adjustment for TDLU count/mm, TDLU span (OR: 0.34, 95% CI: 0.14-0.84), and acini count/TDLU (OR: 0.33, 95% CI: 0.13-0.81). MD decline following adjuvant tamoxifen is associated with reduced risk of breast cancer-specific death, irrespective of pre-treatment lobule involution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm8111868DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6912285PMC
November 2019

Using Digital Pathology to Understand Epithelial Characteristics of Benign Breast Disease among Women Undergoing Diagnostic Image-Guided Breast Biopsy.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2019 12 23;12(12):861-870. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.

Delayed terminal duct lobular unit (TDLU) involution is associated with elevated mammographic breast density (MD). Both are independent breast cancer risk factors among women with benign breast disease (BBD). Prior digital analyses of normal breast tissues revealed that epithelial nuclear density (END) and TDLU involution are inversely correlated. Accordingly, we examined associations of END, TDLU involution, and MD in BBD clinical biopsies. This study included digitized images of 262 representative image-guided hematoxylin and eosin-stained biopsies from 224 women diagnosed with BBD, enrolled within the cross-sectional BREAST-Stamp project that were visually assessed for TDLU involution (TDLU count/100 mm, median TDLU span and median acini count per TDLU). A digital algorithm estimated nuclei count per unit epithelial area, or END. Single X-ray absorptiometry of prebiopsy ipsilateral craniocaudal digital mammograms measured global and localized MD surrounding the biopsy region. Adjusted ordinal logistic regression models assessed relationships between tertiles of TDLU and END measures. Analysis of covariance examined mean differences in MD across END tertiles. TDLU measures were positively associated with increasing END tertiles [TDLU count/100 mm, OR: 3.42, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.87-6.28; acini count/TDLU, OR: 2.40, 95% CI, 1.39-4.15]. END was significantly associated with localized, but not, global MD. Relationships were most apparent among patients with nonproliferative BBD. These findings suggest that quantitative END reflects different but complementary information to the histologic information captured by visual TDLU and radiologic MD measures and merits continued evaluation in assessing cellularity of breast parenchyma to understand the etiology of BBD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-19-0120DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7357278PMC
December 2019

Association of lifestyle and clinical characteristics with receipt of radiotherapy treatment among women diagnosed with DCIS in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2020 Jan 17;179(2):445-457. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Purpose: The long-term risks and benefits of radiotherapy for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) remain unclear. Recent data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registries showed that DCIS-associated radiotherapy treatment significantly increased risk of second non-breast cancers including lung cancer. To help understand those observations and whether breast cancer risk factors are related to radiotherapy treatment decision-making, we examined associations between lifestyle and clinical factors with DCIS radiotherapy receipt.

Methods: Among 1628 participants from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, diagnosed with incident DCIS (1995-2011), we examined associations between lifestyle and clinical factors with radiotherapy receipt. Radiotherapy and clinical information were ascertained from state cancer registries. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for radiotherapy receipt (yes/no) were estimated from multivariable logistic regression.

Results: Overall, 45% (n = 730) received radiotherapy. No relationships were observed for most lifestyle factors and radiotherapy receipt, including current smoking (OR 0.97, 95%CI 0.70, 1.34). However positive associations were observed for moderate alcohol consumption and infrequent physical activity. The strongest associations were observed for radiotherapy receipt and more recent diagnoses (2005-2011 vs. 1995-1999; OR 1.60, 95%CI 1.14, 2.25), poorly versus well-differentiated tumors (OR 1.69, 95%CI 1.16, 2.46) and endocrine therapy (OR 3.37, 95%CI 2.56, 4.44).

Conclusions: Clinical characteristics were the strongest determinants of DCIS radiotherapy. Receipt was largely unrelated to lifestyle factors suggesting that the previously observed associations in SEER were likely not confounded by these lifestyle factors. Further studies are needed to understand mechanisms driving radiotherapy-associated second malignancies following DCIS, to identify prevention opportunities for this growing population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-019-05436-0DOI Listing
January 2020

Differences in Genome-wide DNA Methylation Profiles in Breast Milk by Race and Lactation Duration.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2019 11 3;12(11):781-790. Epub 2019 Sep 3.

NCI, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland.

Black women in the United States are disproportionately affected by early-onset, triple-negative breast cancer. DNA methylation has shown differences by race in healthy and tumor breast tissues. We examined associations between genome-wide DNA methylation levels in breast milk and breast cancer risk factors, including race, to explain how this reproductive stage influences a woman's risk for, and potentially contributes to racial disparities in, breast cancer. Breast milk samples and demographic, behavioral, and reproductive data, were obtained from cancer-free, uniparous, and lactating U.S. black ( = 57) and white ( = 82) women, ages 19-44. Genome-wide DNA methylation analysis was performed on extracted breast milk DNA using the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip. Statistically significant associations between breast cancer risk factors and DNA methylation beta values, adjusting for potential confounders, were determined using linear regression followed by Bonferroni Correction ( < 1.63 × 10). Epigenetic analysis in breast milk revealed statistically significant associations with race and lactation duration. Of the 284 CpG sites associated with race, 242 were hypermethylated in black women. All 227 CpG sites associated with lactation duration were hypomethylated in women who lactated longer. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis of differentially methylated promoter region CpGs by race and lactation duration revealed enrichment for networks implicated in carcinogenesis. Associations between DNA methylation and lactation duration may offer insight on its role in lowering breast cancer risk. Epigenetic associations with race may mediate social, behavioral, or other factors related to breast cancer and may provide insight into potential mechanisms underlying racial disparities in breast cancer incidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-19-0169DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6825576PMC
November 2019

Relationship of circulating insulin-like growth factor-I and binding proteins 1-7 with mammographic density among women undergoing image-guided diagnostic breast biopsy.

Breast Cancer Res 2019 07 23;21(1):81. Epub 2019 Jul 23.

National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Background: Mammographic density (MD) is a strong breast cancer risk factor that reflects fibroglandular and adipose tissue composition, but its biologic underpinnings are poorly understood. Insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs) are markers that may be associated with MD given their hypothesized role in breast carcinogenesis. IGFBPs sequester IGF-I, limiting its bioavailability. Prior studies have found positive associations between circulating IGF-I and the IGF-I:IGFBP-3 ratio and breast cancer risk. We evaluated the associations of IGF-I, IGFBP-3, and six other IGFBPs with MD.

Methods: Serum IGF measures were quantified in 296 women, ages 40-65, undergoing diagnostic image-guided breast biopsy. Volumetric density measures (MD-V) were assessed in pre-biopsy digital mammograms using single X-ray absorptiometry. Area density measures (MD-A) were estimated by computer-assisted thresholding software. Age, body mass index (BMI), and BMI-adjusted linear regression models were used to examine associations of serum IGF measures with MD. Effect modification by BMI was also assessed.

Results: IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were not strongly associated with MD after BMI adjustment. In multivariable analyses among premenopausal women, IGFBP-2 was positively associated with both percent MD-V (β = 1.49, p value = 0.02) and MD-A (β = 1.55, p value = 0.05). Among postmenopausal women, positive relationships between IGFBP-2 and percent MD-V (β = 2.04, p = 0.003) were observed; the positive associations between IGFBP-2 and percent MD-V were stronger among lean women (BMI < 25 kg/m) (β = 5.32, p = 0.0002; p interaction = 0.0003).

Conclusions: In this comprehensive study of IGFBPs and MD, we observed a novel positive association between IGFBP-2 and MD, particularly among women with lower BMI. In concert with in vitro studies suggesting a dual role of IGFBP-2 on breast tissue, promoting cell proliferation as well as inhibiting tumorigenesis, our findings suggest that further studies assessing the role of IGFBP-2 in breast tissue composition, in addition to IGF-1 and IGFBP-3, are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-019-1162-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6651938PMC
July 2019

Associations between mammographic density and tumor characteristics in Chinese women with breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2019 Sep 28;177(2):527-536. Epub 2019 Jun 28.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, DHHS, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Bethesda, MD, 20892-9761, USA.

Purpose: Mammographic density (MD) is a strong risk factor for breast cancer, yet its relationship with tumor characteristics is not well established, particularly in Asian populations.

Methods: MD was assessed from a total of 2001 Chinese breast cancer patients using Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) categories. Molecular subtypes were defined using immunohistochemical status on ER, PR, HER2, and Ki-67, as well as tumor grade. Multinomial logistic regression was used to test associations between MD and molecular subtype (luminal A = reference) adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI), menopausal status, parity, and nodal status.

Results: The mean age at diagnosis was 51.7 years (SD = 10.7) and the average BMI was 24.7 kg/m (SD = 3.8). The distribution of BI-RADS categories was 7.4% A = almost entirely fat, 24.2% B = scattered fibroglandular dense, 49.4% C = heterogeneously dense, and 19.0% D = extremely dense. Compared to women with BI-RADS = A/B, women with BI-RADS = D were more likely to have HER2-enriched tumors (OR = 1.81, 95% CI 1.08-3.06, p = 0.03), regardless of menopausal status. The association was only observed in women with normal (< 25 kg/m) BMI (OR = 2.43, 95% CI 1.24-4.76, p < 0.01), but not among overweight/obese women (OR: 0.98, 95% CI 0.38-2.52, p = 0.96).

Conclusions: Among Chinese women with normal BMI, higher breast density was associated with HER2-enriched tumors. The results may partially explain the higher proportion of HER2+ tumors previously reported in Asian women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-019-05325-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7304859PMC
September 2019

The relationship between terminal duct lobular unit features and mammographic density among Chinese breast cancer patients.

Int J Cancer 2019 07 7;145(1):70-77. Epub 2019 Jan 7.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Extensive mammographic density (MD), a well-established breast cancer risk factor, is a radiological representation of stromal and epithelial breast tissue content. In studies conducted predominantly among Caucasian women, histologic measures of reduced terminal duct lobular unit (TDLU) involution have been correlated with extensive MD, but independently associated with breast cancer risk. We therefore examined associations between TDLU measures and MD among Chinese women, a low-risk population but with high prevalence of dense breasts. Diagnostic pre-treatment digital mammograms were obtained from 144 breast cancer cases at a tertiary hospital in Beijing and scored using the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) density classification. TDLU features were assessed using three standardized measures (count/100 mm , span [μm], and acini count/TDLU) in benign tissues. Associations between each of TDLU measures and MD were examined using generalized linear models for TDLU count and span and polytomous logistic regression for acini count with adjustment for potential confounders stratified by age. Among women ≥50 years, 63% had dense breasts; cases with dense breasts (BI-RADS, c-d) had greater TDLU count (21.1 [SE = 2.70] vs. 9.0 [SE = 1.83]; p = 0.0004), longer span (480.6 μm [SE = 24.6] vs. 393.8 μm [SE = 31.8]; p = 0.03), and greater acini count (OR = 16.1; 95%CI = 4.08-63.1; p < 0.0001) compared to those with non-dense breasts (BI-RADS, a-b). Among women <50 years, 91% had dense breasts, precluding our ability to detect associations. Our findings are consistent with previously reported associations between extensive MD and reduced TDLU involution, supporting the hypothesis that breast cancer risk associated with extensive MD may be related to the amount of "at-risk" epithelium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32077DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6488407PMC
July 2019

Response to DeSantis and Jemal.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2019 01;111(1):101-102

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djy163DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6657280PMC
January 2019

Pooled Analysis of Nine Cohorts Reveals Breast Cancer Risk Factors by Tumor Molecular Subtype.

Cancer Res 2018 10 5;78(20):6011-6021. Epub 2018 Sep 5.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland.

Various subtypes of breast cancer defined by estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and HER2 exhibit etiologic differences in reproductive factors, but associations with other risk factors are inconsistent. To clarify etiologic heterogeneity, we pooled data from nine cohort studies. Multivariable, joint Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate HRs and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for molecular subtypes. Of 606,025 women, 11,741 invasive breast cancers with complete tissue markers developed during follow-up: 8,700 luminal A-like (ER or PR/HER2), 1,368 luminal B-like (ER or PR/HER2), 521 HER2-enriched (ER/PR/HER2), and 1,152 triple-negative (ER/PR/HER2) disease. Ever parous compared with never was associated with lower risk of luminal A-like (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.73-0.83) and luminal B-like (HR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.64-0.87) as well as a higher risk of triple-negative disease (HR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.02-1.50; value for overall tumor heterogeneity < 0.001). Direct associations with luminal-like, but not HER2-enriched or triple-negative, tumors were found for age at first birth, years between menarche and first birth, and age at menopause ( value for overall tumor heterogeneity < 0.001). Age-specific associations with baseline body mass index differed for risk of luminal A-like and triple-negative breast cancer ( value for tumor heterogeneity = 0.02). These results provide the strongest evidence for etiologic heterogeneity of breast cancer to date from prospective studies. These findings comprise the largest study of prospective data to date and contribute to the accumulating evidence that etiological heterogeneity exists in breast carcinogenesis. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-0502DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6223627PMC
October 2018

Pro-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors in human milk: an exploratory analysis of racial differences to inform breast cancer etiology.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2018 Nov 6;172(1):209-219. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, USA.

Background: Analysis of cytokines and growth factors in human milk offers a noninvasive approach for studying the microenvironment of the postpartum breast, which may better reflect tissue levels than testing blood samples. Given that Black women have a higher incidence of early-onset breast cancers than White women, we hypothesized that milk of the former contains higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, adipokines, and growth factors.

Methods: Participants included 130 Black and 162 White women without a history of a breast biopsy who completed a health assessment questionnaire and donated milk for research. Concentrations of 15 analytes in milk were examined using two multiplex and 4 single-analyte electrochemiluminescent sandwich assays to measure pro-inflammatory cytokines, angiogenesis factors, and adipokines. Mixed-effects ordinal logistic regression was used to identify determinants of analyte levels and to compare results by race, with adjustment for confounders. Factor analysis was used to examine covariation among analytes.

Results: Thirteen of 15 analytes were detected in ≥ 25% of the human milk specimens. In multivariable models, elevated BMI was significantly associated with increased concentrations of 5 cytokines: IL-1β, bFGF, FASL, EGF, and leptin (all p-trend < 0.05). Black women had significantly higher levels of leptin and IL-1β, controlling for BMI. Factor analysis of analyte levels identified two factors related to inflammation and growth factor pathways.

Conclusion: This exploratory study demonstrated the feasibility of measuring pro-inflammatory cytokines, adipokines, and angiogenesis factors in human milk, and revealed higher levels of some pro-inflammatory factors, as well as increased leptin levels, among Black as compared with White women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-018-4907-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6191357PMC
November 2018

Black-White Breast Cancer Incidence Trends: Effects of Ethnicity.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2018 11;110(11):1270-1272

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD.

Recent reports of converging black and white breast cancer incidence rates have gained much attention, potentially foreshadowing a worsening of the black-white breast cancer mortality disparity. However, these incidence rates also reflect the sum of non-Hispanics and Hispanics that may mask important ethnicity-specific trends. We therefore assessed race- and ethnicity-specific breast cancer trends using the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) 13 Registries Database (1992-2014). Age-period-cohort models projected rates for 2015-2030. Results confirmed merging of age-standardized incidence rates for blacks and whites circa 2012, but not for non-Hispanic black (NHB) and non-Hispanic white (NHW) women. Incidence rates were highest for NHW women (n = 382 290), followed by NHB women (n = 51 074), and then Hispanic white women (n = 48 651). The sample size for Hispanic blacks was too small for analysis (n = 693). Notably, future incidence rates are expected to slowly increase (2015 through 2030) among NHW women (0.24% per year, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.17 to 0.32) and slowly decrease for NHB women (-0.14% per year, 95% CI = -0.15 to -0.13). A putative worsening of the black-white mortality disparity, therefore, seems unlikely. Ethnicity matters when assessing race-specific breast cancer incidence rates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djy112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6235684PMC
November 2018