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BioMed Research International
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 6026315, 10 pages
Research Article

Mammographic Breast Density and Breast Cancer Molecular Subtypes: The Kenyan-African Aspect

1Section of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya
2Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
3Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA
4Department of Pathology, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya
5Department of Radiology, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya
6Department of Medical Education, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya
7Department of Statistics and Epidemiology, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya
8Section of Breast Surgery, Department of Surgery, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya

Correspondence should be addressed to Asim Jamal Shaikh

Received 29 August 2017; Accepted 5 December 2017; Published 22 January 2018

Academic Editor: Neeta Kumar

Copyright © 2018 Asim Jamal Shaikh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Data examining mammographic breast density (MBD) among patients in Sub-Saharan Africa are sparse. We evaluated how MBD relates to breast cancer characteristics in Kenyan women undergoing diagnostic mammography. Methods. This cross-sectional study included women with pathologically confirmed breast cancers (). Pretreatment mammograms of the unaffected breast were assessed to estimate absolute dense area (cm2), nondense area (cm2), and percent density (PD). Relationships between density measurements and clinical characteristics were evaluated using analysis of covariance. Results. Median PD and dense area were 24.9% and 85.3 cm2. Higher PD and dense area were observed in younger women (). Higher dense and nondense areas were observed in obese women (-trend < 0.01). Estrogen receptor (ER) positive patients (73%) had higher PD and dense area than ER-negative patients (). Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients (17%) had lower PD and dense area () compared with non-TNBCs. No associations were observed between MBD and tumor size and grade. Conclusions. Our findings show discordant relationships between MBD and molecular tumor subtypes to those previously observed in Western populations. The relatively low breast density observed at diagnosis may have important implications for cancer prevention initiatives in Kenya. Subsequent larger studies are needed to confirm these findings.