Purpose: The Joanne Knight Breast Health Cohort was established to link breast cancer risk factors, mammographic breast density, benign breast biopsies and associated tissue markers, and blood markers in a diverse population of women undergoing routine mammographic screening to study risk factors and validate models for breast cancer risk prediction. Methods: Women were recruited from November 2008 to April 2012 through the mammography service at the Joanne Knight Breast Health Center at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Baseline questionnaire risk factors, blood, and screening mammograms were collected from 12,153 women. Of these, 1,672 were excluded for prior history of any cancer (except non-melanoma skin) or diagnosis of breast cancer within 6 months of blood draw/registration for the study, for a total of 10,481 women. Follow-up is through linking to electronic health records, tumor registry, and death register. Routine screening mammograms are collected every 1–2 years and incident benign breast biopsies and cancers are identified through record linkage to pathology and tumor registries. Formal fixed tissue samples are retrieved and stored for analysis. County-level measures of structural inequality were derived from publicly available resources. Results: Cohort Composition: median age at entry was 54.8 years and 26.7% are African American. Through 2020, 74% of participants have had a medical center visit within the past year and 80% within the past 2 years representing an average of 9.7 person-years of follow-up from date of blood draw per participant. 9,997 women are continuing in follow-up. Data collected at baseline include breast cancer risk factors, plasma and white blood cells, and mammograms prior to baseline, at baseline, and during follow-up. Conclusion: This cohort assembled and followed in a routine mammography screening and care setting that serves a diverse population of women in the St. Louis region now provides opportunities to integrate study of questionnaire measures, plasma and DNA markers, benign and malignant tissue markers, and repeated breast image features into prospective evaluation for breast cancer etiology and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-629
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Benign breast disease
  • Biomarkers
  • Cohort
  • Mammography
  • Prospective
  • Women


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