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Increased Hip Bone Density Linked to Breast Cancer

Measurement predicts risk independently of Gail score in postmenopausal women

WEDNESDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- In postmenopausal women, hip bone mineral density predicts breast cancer risk independently of the Gail score, suggesting that the two measurements could be used together to better quantify the risk, according to a study published online July 29 in Cancer.

Zhao Chen, Ph.D., of the University of Arizona College of Public Health in Tucson and colleagues prospectively studied 9,941 postmenopausal women from the Women's Health Initiative who had a baseline hip bone mineral density and Gail score. After an average follow-up of 8.43 years, they identified 327 incident breast cancer cases.

The researchers found that a high Gail score and each unit of increase in the total hip bone mineral density T-score were associated with an increased risk of breast cancer (hazard ratios 1.35 and 1.25, respectively). They also found women who had above-median scores in both categories had a sharply increased risk of breast cancer.

"Using both BMD (bone mineral density) and Gail score together may improve the performance of the prediction model with regard to incident breast cancer in postmenopausal women, but the gain in the accuracy of the prediction is small," the authors conclude. "The prediction model appears to be most applicable to those women with both extremely high Gail scores and BMD."

One co-author disclosed financial ties to several pharmaceutical companies.

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