Association between the Adherence to the International Guidelines for Cancer Prevention and Mammographic Density

PLoS One. 2015 Jul 24;10(7):e0132684. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132684. eCollection 2015.


Introduction: Mammographic density (MD) is considered a strong predictor of Breast Cancer (BC). The objective of the present study is to explore the association between MD and the compliance with the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) recommendations for cancer prevention.

Methods: Data of 3584 women attending screening from a population-based multicenter cross-sectional study (DDM-Spain) collected from October 7, 2007 through July 14, 2008, was used to calculate a score that measures the level of compliance with the WCRF/AICR recommendations: R1)Maintain adequate body weight; R2)Be physically active; 3R)Limit the intake of high density foods; R4)Eat mostly plant foods; R5)Limit the intake of animal foods; R6)Limit alcohol intake; R7)Limit salt and salt preserved food intake; R8)Meet nutritional needs through diet. The association between the score and MD (assessed by a single radiologist using a semi-quantitative scale) was evaluated using ordinal logistic models with random center-specific intercepts adjusted for the main determinants of MD. Stratified analyses by menopausal status and smoking status were also carried out.

Results: A higher compliance with the WCRF/AICR recommendations was associated with lower MD (OR1-unit increase = 0.93 95%CI:0.86;0.99). The association was stronger in postmenopausal women (OR = 0.91 95%CI:0.84;0.99) and nonsmokers (OR = 0.87;95%CI:0.80;0.96 for nonsmokers, OR = 1.01 95%CI:0.91;1.12 for smokers, P-interaction = 0.042). Among nonsmokers, maintaining adequate body weight (OR = 0.81 95%CI:0.65;1.01), practicing physical activity (OR = 0.68 95%CI:0.48;0.96) and moderating the intake of high-density foods (OR = 0.58 95%CI:0.40;0.86) and alcoholic beverages (OR = 0.76 95%CI:0.55;1.05) were the recommendations showing the strongest associations with MD.

Conclusions: postmenopausal women and non-smokers with greater compliance with the WCRF/AICR guidelines have lower MD. These results may provide guidance to design specific recommendations for screening attendants with high MD and therefore at higher risk of developing BC.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Density
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammary Glands, Human / abnormalities*
  • Mass Screening
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Postmenopause
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology

Grant support

This study was supported by FIS PI060386 FIS (Health Research Fund) Research Grant; EC11-273 Research Grant from the Spanish Ministy of Health; CD110/00018 FIS Sara Borrell contract; FECMA 485 EPY 1170-10 grant from the Spanish Federation of Breast Cancer Patients.