A substantial proportion of all breast cancers develop in patients with prior benign breast disease, a new study published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer has shown.1

Although women with benign breast disease have an increased risk for developing breast cancer, there is limited evidence regarding the clinicopathologic features of breast cancers in these patients. Therefore, a team of researchers led by Amy C. Degnim, MD, of the Division of Cancer Biology at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, sought to characterize breast cancers developing in a large cohort of women with benign breast disease.

Researchers analyzed data from a cohort of 13,485 women who underwent breast biopsy for mammographic or palpable concerns between 1967 and 2011.

Continue Reading

Results showed that with a median follow-up of 15.8 years, 1,273 women developed breast cancer. Of those, 81% were invasive, of which 61% were ductal, 13% were mixed/lobular, and 14% were lobular.

Researchers found that approximately two-thirds of all breast cancer cases in the cohort were intermediate or high grade, and 29% were lymph node positive.

RELATED: Everolimus Efficacy Independent of Genetic Alterations in EGFR2-negative Breast Cancer

The study also demonstrated that women with atypical hyperplasia had a higher frequency of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer compared with those with proliferative disease without atypia or nonproliferative disease (P = .02).

“Prevention therapy should be strongly encouraged in higher-risk women with [benign breast disease],” the authors concluded.

Editor’s Note: Article was updated on November 2, 2015.


  1. Visscher DW, Frost MH, Hartmann LC, et al. Clinicopathologic features of breast cancers that develop in women with previous benign breast disease [published online ahead of print October 29, 2015]. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29766.