High-Density Lipoprotein-Cholesterol, daily estradiol and progesterone, and mammographic density phenotypes in premenopausal women.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.) (2015)


High-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) may influence the proliferation of breast tumor cells, but it is unclear whether low HDL-C levels, alone or in combination with cyclic estrogen and progesterone, is associated with mammographic density, a strong predictor of breast cancer development. Fasting morning serum concentrations of HDL-C were assessed in 202 premenopausal women, 25-35 years of age, participating in the Norwegian Energy Balance and Breast Cancer Aspects (EBBA) I study. Estrogen and progesterone were measured both in serum, and daily in saliva, throughout an entire menstrual cycle. Absolute and percent mammographic density was assessed by a computer-assisted method (Madena), from digitized mammograms (days 7-12). Multivariable models were used to study the associations between HDL-C, estrogen and progesterone, and mammographic density phenotypes. We observed a positive association between HDL-C and percent mammographic density after adjustments (p= 0.030). When combining HDL-C, estradiol and progesterone, we observed among women with low HDL-C (<1.39 mmol/L), a linear association between salivary 17β-estradiol, progesterone, and percent and absolute mammographic density. Furthermore, in women with low HDL-C, each one SD increase of salivary mid-menstrual 17β-estradiol was associated with an OR of 4.12 (95% CI 1.30-13.0) of having above-median percent (28.5%), and an OR of 2.5 (95% CI 1.13-5.50) of having above-median absolute mammographic density (32.4 cm2). Based on plausible biological mechanisms linking HDL-C to breast cancer development, our findings suggest a role of HDL-C, alone or in combination with estrogen, in breast cancer development. However, our small hypothesis generating study requires confirmation in larger studies.