Mammographically detected breast arterial calcifications: indicators for arteriosclerotic diseases?

Eur J Radiol. 2006 Nov;60(2):250-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2006.06.006. Epub 2006 Aug 4.


Purpose: To determine the prevalence of breast arterial calcifications (BAC) detected on mammography and search for conditions that may influence their existence.

Materials and methods: The mammograms of 6156 consecutive patients were reevaluated for the presence of BAC. Four hundred eighty-five women having BAC were enrolled in the patient group. Additionally, randomly selected 500 women, without BAC constituted the control group. Hospital records of the participants were reviewed for parity, menopausal status, oral contraceptive agent (OCA) usage, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) usage, presence of diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, albuminuria and history of myocardial infarction (MI).

Results: Prevalence of BAC was 7.9% on mammograms. Ninety-four women were aged between 40 and 49 years, 165 were aged between 50 and 59 years and 226 were over 60 years among BAC positive 485 women. A significant relationship was found for the frequency of BAC versus age and HRT usage in all age groups (p<0.05). Similarly, significant relationships were also found for the frequency of BAC versus OCA usage, HRT usage, hyperlipidemia and diabetes in age group of 40-49 and in age group of 50-59, and for the frequency of BAC versus albuminuria in age group of 40-49, BAC versus history of myocardial infarction in age group of 59-59 and over 60 years (p<0.05). The correlations were not significant for the relationships of BAC with OCA usage, hyperlipidemia, diabetes and albuminuria in women over 60 years (p>0.05).

Conclusion: Most benign findings like BAC are not routinely reported during mammographic evaluation. Our study showed that, presence of BAC on mammography was strongly related to advancing age. However, these findings may signify a systemic risk and can be used as precautious indicators for undocumented systemic diseases, especially in premenopausal women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Albuminuria / complications
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arteriosclerosis / complications
  • Arteriosclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arteriosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology*
  • Breast Diseases / complications
  • Breast Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Diseases / epidemiology
  • Breast Diseases / pathology*
  • Calcinosis / complications
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Calcinosis / epidemiology
  • Calcinosis / pathology*
  • Contraceptives, Oral / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptives, Oral / adverse effects
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / complications
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Mammography*
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • Postmenopause
  • Premenopause
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Turkey / epidemiology


  • Contraceptives, Oral