Correlation between cumulative mammographic density and age-specific incidence of breast cancer: A biethnic study in Israel

Anath A. Flugelman, Anya Burton, Lital Keinan-Boker, Nili Stein, Dafna Kutner, Lior Shemesh, Norman Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women with the most extensive breast density, have a 4- to 6-fold higher cancer risk than women with the lowest density. This cross-sectional study evaluated associations of cumulative mammographic density in two distinct ethnic groups with the respective age-specific breast cancer incidences in the population. The study compared four cohorts of 200 women each aged 35 to 49 and 50 to 74, representing Jewish and Arab ethnicity. Breast density measures were calculated from screening mammograms, using a thresholding software (Cumulus). Breast cancer specific incidence values were obtained from the National Cancer Registry. The percent mammographic density was lower for women aged 50 to 74 than 35 to 49 years, both for Jews: 11.7 vs 23.1 and for Arabs: 11.6 vs 18.3. In contrast, the cumulative density increased with age, from 37.30 to 181.24 in Jews, compared to 21.26 to 108.03 in Arabs. Similar trends in breast cancer incidence rates per 100 000 in the Israeli population were apparent, with an increase from 92.95 to 381.91 in Jews, compared to 48.6 to 244.44 in Arabs. Comparing cumulative density of the cohort with respective age-specific breast cancer incidence in the population yielded a highly significant correlation: Jews; r =.97, P <.0001 and Arabs: r =.86, P =.007. A strong association was found between the log of cumulative density and the log of cancer incidence, as well. Our study identified correlations between cumulative mammographic density and breast cancer incidence in two distinct populations. The findings should prompt research to enhance our understanding of the pathogenesis of breast cancer, and lead to novel insights into measures of prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1968-1977
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 UICC.


  • breast cancer risk
  • cumulative mammographic density
  • diverse populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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