Identified benign breast tumors with higher risk of cancer evolution

A study by IMIM and Hospital del Mar has revealed that incident and proliferative benign breast tumors have an increased risk of developing cancer.

The way in which benign breast tumors are detected, a key indicator for the prognosis of breast cancer. Image by the National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Researchers from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) have revealed at the 12th European Breast Cancer Congress, which benign breast disease (BBD) or “non-cancerous lumps” carry an increased risk of later becomiong breast cancer.

The study, carried out in collaboration with Hospital del Mar, has analyzed data from 629,087 women, which included 2,327,384 mammograms performed between 1995 and 2015 and with follow-up until 2017.

The results, collected in the following table, show the increased risk of developing breast cancer based on the different types of detected BBD compared to the risk without the presence of BBD:

1. NON-PROLIFERATIVEx1,96x1,63x2,39
2. PROLIFERATIVEx3,28x2,85x4 (aprox)
a. PREVALENT: Benign tumor detected in the first appointment of a screening program.
b. INCIDENT: Benign tumor detected in the following apointments (every two years).
1. NON-PROLIFERATIVE: Without growth of certain cells of the breast tissue
2. PROLIFERATIVE: With growth of certain cells of the breast tissue

The highest risk, therefore, occurs in women with benign proliferative incident tumors, who have “almost four times the risk of developing breast cancer than women without BBD” according to researcher Marta Román.

“Including information from BBD, in addition to other factors, to develop risk-based screening approaches can help with the prediction of whether a woman would develop breast cancer in a defined period”
Marta Román, IMIM

According to the authors, these results would allow more specific screening methods which could translate into prognoses and personalized strategies for each patient. Ultimately, the study could serve to improve the understanding of the risk associated with BBDs and increase their consideration in predicting the risk of breast cancer in the future.

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