Mammographic breast density is a strong risk factor for breast cancer. We comprehensively investigated the associations of body mass index (BMI) change from ages 10, 18, and 30 to age at mammogram with mammographic breast density in postmenopausal women. We used multivariable linear regression models, adjusted for confounders, to investigate the associations of BMI change with volumetric percent density, dense volume, and nondense volume, assessed using Volpara in 367 women. At the time of mammogram, the mean age was 57.9 years. Compared with women who had a BMI gain of 0.1–5 kg/m2 from age 10, women who had a BMI gain of 5.1–10 kg/m2 had a 24.4% decrease [95% confidence interval (CI), 6.0%–39.2%] in volumetric percent density; women who had a BMI gain of 10.1–15 kg/m2 had a 46.1% decrease (95% CI, 33.0%–56.7%) in volumetric percent density; and women who had a BMI gain of >15 kg/m2 had a 56.5% decrease (95% CI, 46.0%–65.0%) in volumetric percent density. Similar, but slightly attenuated associations were observed for BMI gain from ages 18 and 30 to age at mammogram and volumetric percent density. BMI gain over the life course was positively associated with nondense volume, but not dense volume. We observed strong associations between BMI change over the life course and mammographic breast density. The inverse associations between early-life adiposity change and volumetric percent density suggest that childhood adiposity may confer long-term protection against postmenopausal breast cancer via its effect of mammographic breast density.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-482
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Prevention Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


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