BRCA1/2 mutations account for 30-50% of hereditary breast cancers and bilateral oophorectomy is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer (BC) in these patients. Breast density is a well-established BC risk factor and is also associated with increased risk in BRCA carriers. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of oophorectomy on mammographic breast density and to assess which method of breast density assessment is more sensitive to change over time.
Retrospective study of 50 BRCA1/2 patients who underwent bilateral oophorectomy and had at least a baseline and post-surgery mammogram. Mammographic breast density was determined by Volpara and consensus visual assessment by two radiologists. The primary endpoint was change in density between baseline and the first mammogram post-surgery.
At baseline, there was a non-significant trend for decreased density with increasing age. Volumetric breast density (VBD) significantly decreased after oophorectomy from a median VBD of 12.5% at baseline to 10.2% post-surgery which was driven by a reduction in fibroglandular volume. There was a higher absolute decrease in VBD in patients aged between 40-50 (P < 0.01). Using Volpara Density Grades (analogous to BI-RADS 4th edition density categories), 84% of women displayed a decrease in density category over the study period compared to only 76% using the radiologists' visual classification (P < 0.001) Conclusion: Oophorectomy is associated with a decrease in breast density and younger patients exhibit a larger absolute decrease. Volpara is more sensitive to identify change over time compared to visual assessment. Advances in knowledge Oophorectomy is associated with a significant decrease in volumetric breast density in patients with BRCA mutations and Volpara Density Grades were more sensitive to identify decreases in density compared to visually assessed BI-RADS categories. Decreases in breast density following oophorectomy surgery in BRCA patients may be one of the mechanisms contributing to the observed decreased breast cancer risk after surgery. However, further studies are needed to investigate the relationship between breast density, oophorectomy and breast cancer risk in BRCA patients.
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