Evidence Supports Heritability of Breast-Tissue Composition

-- Eric Metcalf

Monday, May 4, 2009

MONDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Breast water -- which is correlated with mammographic density -- is higher in young women, which may point to a factor related to susceptibility to breast carcinogens at younger ages, according to research published online April 30 in The Lancet Oncology.

Norman Boyd, M.D., of the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto, and colleagues analyzed data from 400 teenage and young adult women and their mothers. The daughters underwent MRI assessment of breast water and fat, along with hormone assays. Most mothers underwent mammography and 100 also had a breast MRI scan.

The researchers found that in the older women MRI-assessed percent water was strongly related to percent mammographic density, and their percent water was significantly lower than their daughters' (median 27.8 versus 44.8 percent). In daughters, they note, percent water was inversely associated with age and weight, and positively associated with mothers' percent mammographic density.

"The available evidence suggests that genetic factors account for most of the variance in percent mammographic density in middle age, and the associations observed here between weight, height, and percent breast water in young women suggest that factors associated with growth and development affect breast-tissue composition. The association of percent breast water with growth hormone, a breast mitogen that also mediates somatic growth, suggests a potential mechanism by which these factors related to growth and development might affect breast-tissue composition," the authors conclude.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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