Independent association of lobular involution and mammographic breast density with breast cancer risk.
Lobular involution, or age-related atrophy of breast lobules, is inversely associated with breast cancer risk, and mammographic breast density (MBD) is positively associated with breast cancer risk. To evaluate whether lobular involution and MBD are independently associated with breast cancer risk in women with benign breast disease, we performed a nested cohort study among women (n = 2666) with benign breast disease diagnosed at Mayo Clinic between January 1, 1985, and December 31, 1991 and a mammogram available within 6 months of the diagnosis. Women were followed up for an average of 13.3 years to document any breast cancer incidence. Lobular involution was categorized as none, partial, or complete; parenchymal pattern was classified using the Wolfe classification as N1 (nondense), P1, P2 (ductal prominence occupying <25%, or >25% of the breast, respectively), or DY (extremely dense). Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to assess associations of lobular involution and MBD with breast cancer risk were estimated using adjusted Cox proportional hazards model. All tests of statistical significance were two-sided. After adjustment for MBD, having no or partial lobular involution was associated with a higher risk of breast cancer than having complete involution (none: HR of breast cancer incidence = 2.62, 95% CI = 1.39 to 4.94; partial: HR of breast cancer incidence = 1.61, 95% CI = 1.03 to 2.53; P(trend) = .002). Similarly, after adjustment for involution, having dense breasts was associated with higher risk of breast cancer than having nondense breasts (for DY: HR of breast cancer incidence = 1.67, 95% CI = 1.03 to 2.73; for P2: HR of breast cancer incidence = 1.96, 95% CI = 1.20 to 3.21; for P1: HR of breast cancer incidence = 1.23, 95% CI = 0.67 to 2.26; P(trend) = .02). Having a combination of no involution and dense breasts was associated with higher risk of breast cancer than having complete involution and nondense breasts (HR of breast cancer incidence = 4.08, 95% CI = 1.72 to 9.68; P = .006). Lobular involution and MBD are independently associated with breast cancer incidence; combined, they are associated with an even greater risk for breast cancer.