Changes in breast density over serial mammograms: A case-control study

Hanna Sartor, Despina Kontos, Susann Ullén, Hannie Förnvik, Daniel Förnvik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: In addition to a breast density category, temporal changes in breast density have gained attention as a dynamic breast cancer risk marker. This case-control study aimed to investigate a potential change in breast density preceding tumor development and the relationship of this potential change to prognostic pathological tumor variables. Method: A total of 51 consecutive, eligible-for-analyses, biopsy-proven breast cancers were diagnosed between 1 st of August and 31 st of December 2014 at Skåne University Hospital, Sweden. Mammogram data and patient- and tumor characteristics were retrieved retrospectively from medical charts. Breast density was quantitatively estimated using LIBRA (a free open source software package). The cases were matched for year of birth, number of screening rounds, and date for first and last mammograms with controls from the Malmö Breast Tomosynthesis Screening Trial in a 1:2 ratio, resulting in median time between mammograms of 4.5 (1.3–11.9) years for cases and 4.7 (1.4–11.1) years for controls, averaging approximately three screening rounds (1–6 rounds). Results: We detected a statistically significant difference in breast density change over time, with cases showing an increase in breast density (1.7 %) as compared to controls (-0.3 %) (p = 0.045). We found that in women with breast cancer, older women (≥ 55 years) experienced a higher breast density increase compared to younger women (5.1 % vs. 0.3 %, p = 0.002). Conclusions: There was a statistically significant difference in density change, where women with breast cancer showed an increased density over time, which was particularly evident in women > 55 years of age.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108980
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging

Free keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Breast density
  • Mammography


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