Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: The relative importance of genetics and environment on mammographic density.

Authors: Ursin, Giske; Lillie, Elizabeth O; Lee, Eunjung; Cockburn, Myles; Schork, Nicholas J; Cozen, Wendy; Parisky, Yuri R; Hamilton, Ann S; Astrahan, Melvin A; Mack, Thomas

Published In Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, (2009 Jan)

Abstract: Although several environmental factors predict mammographic density, estimates of its heritability have been quite high. We investigated whether part of the presumed heritability might be attributed to differential sharing of modifiable risk factors in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins.We measured percent and absolute mammographic density using mammograms from 257 MZ and 296 DZ twin pairs. The correlation of intrapair mammographic density was compared according to zygosity across strata of modifiable risk factors. Portions of variance attributable to additive genetic factors, shared environment, and individual environment were calculated using a variance component methodology in the entire set, and within twin pairs stratified by environmental trait similarity.Both percent density and absolute mammographic density were more highly correlated between MZ twins than DZ twins, but the correlations varied across strata. Body mass index (BMI) and parity strongly predicted differences in mammographic density within MZ twin pairs. After adjusting for covariates, 53% of the total variance in percent density and 59% of that in absolute density seemed attributable to genetic effects, but these estimates varied greatly by stratum. For twins dissimilar on BMI (difference >2.5 kg/m(2)), the additive genetic component of absolute density was estimated at only 20% (+/-19%), and the common and individual environment at 21% (+/-14%) and 49%, respectively (P value for heterogeneity across BMI = 0.0001).Our results confirm that the genome is an important determinant of mammographic density but suggest that an unknown portion of the mammographic density effect attributed to the genome may be due to shared modifiable environmental factors.

PubMed ID: 19124487 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Analysis of Variance; Body Mass Index; Breast Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging; Breast Neoplasms/genetics*; Breast Neoplasms/pathology; Breast/anatomy & histology*; Breast/pathology; California; Case-Control Studies; Diseases in Twins/genetics; Environment*; Female; Genetic Predisposition to Disease; Humans; Mammography; Middle Aged; Regression Analysis; Risk Factors; Twins, Dizygotic/genetics*; Twins, Monozygotic/genetics*

Back
to Top