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Benign breast biopsy diagnosis and subsequent risk of breast cancer.

BACKGROUND: We examine benign breast biopsy diagnoses as reported by community pathologists in New Mexico and investigate associations with future breast cancer development.

METHODS: Using data collected between 1992 and 2000 by the New Mexico Mammography Project and cancer data through 2003 from the New Mexico Tumor Registry, we calculated breast cancer rates following 14,602 benign breast biopsies for women ages 30 to 89 years. For comparison, we also calculated the breast cancer rate following 215,283 normal screening mammograms. Hazard ratios (HR) are presented.

RESULTS: We identified 480 subsequent breast cancer diagnoses among 14,602 women with benign breast biopsies and 4,402 breast cancer diagnoses among 215,283 women with mammograms assigned a "negative" or "benign finding" assessment. Histologic diagnoses in absence of atypia had an age-adjusted HR of 1.95 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.77-2.15]. Among low-risk histologic diagnoses, the strongest associations with subsequent breast cancer development included adenosis, apocrine metaplasia, calcifications, and ductal hyperplasia. Fibroadenoma, inflammation, and cysts did not exhibit an association with breast cancer development. Women with low-risk diagnoses and breast tissue characterized as fatty or with scattered densities had a HR of 2.09 (95% CI, 1.68-2.60), whereas women with low-risk histologic diagnoses and dense breasts had a HR of 3.36 (95% CI, 2.83-3.99).

CONCLUSIONS: The observed breast cancer occurrence contributes to evidence of increased risk following benign biopsy. The risk associated with histologic diagnoses in absence of atypia was twice the risk experienced by women with normal mammogram evaluations and may be modified by breast density.

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