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Is Breast Densitometry a Measure of Breast Cancer Risk

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Annual rept. 1 Sep 2000-31 Aug 2001

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Perhaps the least recognized risk factor for breast cancer is breast density. Other than age, breast density, as measured using the radiographic contrast in mammograms between fat and nonfatty tissue, has been shown to be one of the strongest indicators of breast cancer risk available. The primary aim of our research is to fully develop new technologies, dual and single energy x-ray absorptiometry DXA and SXA, for breast densitometry that could be used to clinically assess the risk of breast cancer and to serve as a sensitive and highly reproducible surrogate marker for testing new methods for preventing breast cancer. DXA FAT was found to be highly correlated to phantom percent glandular density r 0.998. In addition, DXA FAT was found to be highly correlated to mammographic density using excised cadaveric breasts adjusted 0.83. DXA precision SD on whole breast tissue samples was 0.5 without repositioning and 1.1 with breast repositioning. Based on this validation of the DXA technique, we have constructed an In vivo DXA positioning aid to be used on commercial DXA equipment and in planned clinical validation trials. With regards to SXA, a workstation and a dynamically adjustable phantom have been designed and constructed. However, full validation of precision and accuracy have not been completed. We plan to follow these encouraging initial results with a case-control study to show that compositional breast density is as highly or more highly predictive of cancer risk than mammographic density alone.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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