Endogenous Sex Hormones and Breast Density in Young Women

Seungyoun Jung, Frank Z. Stanczyk, Brian L. Egleston, Linda G. Snetselaar, Victor J. Stevens, John A. Shepherd, Linda Van Horn, Erin S. LeBlanc, Kenneth Paris, Catherine Klifa, Joanne F. Dorgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study among 180 women ages 25 to 29 years old who participated in the Dietary Intervention Study in Children 2006 Follow-up Study. Eighty-five percent of participants attended a clinic visit during their luteal phase of menstrual cycle. Magnetic resonance imaging measured the percentage of dense breast volume (%DBV), absolute dense breast volume (ADBV), and absolute nondense breast volume (ANDBV). Multiple-linear mixed-effect regression models were used to evaluate the association of sex hormones and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) with %DBV, ADBV, and ANDBV. Results: Testosterone was significantly positively associated with %DBV and ADBV. The multivariable geometric mean of %DBV and ADBV across testosterone quartiles increased from 16.5% to 20.3% and from 68.6 to 82.3 cm3, respectively (Ptrend ≤ 0.03). There was no association of%DBVor ADBV with estrogens, progesterone, non-SHBG-bound testosterone, or SHBG (Ptrend ≥ 0.27). Neither sex hormones nor SHBG was associated with ANDBV except progesterone; however, the progesterone result was nonsignificant in analysis restricted to women in the luteal phase. onclusions: These findings suggest a modest positive association between testosterone and breast density in young women. Impact: Hormonal influences at critical periods may contribute to morphologic differences in the breast associated with breast cancer risk later in life.

Background: Breast density is a strong risk factor for breast cancer and reflects epithelial and stromal content. Breast tissue is particularly sensitive to hormonal stimuli before it fully differentiates following the first full-term pregnancy. Few studies have examined associations between sex hormones and breast density among young women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-378
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Association for Cancer Research.


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