Breast density has been established as a major risk factor for breast cancer. We have previously demonstrated that mammographic texture resemblance (MTR), recognizing the local texture patterns of the mammogram, is also a risk factor for breast cancer, independent of percent breast density. We examine if these findings generalize to another population.

Texture patterns were recorded in digitalized pre-diagnosis (3.7 years) film mammograms of a nested case-control study within the Dutch screening program (S1) comprising of 245 breast cancers and 250 matched controls. The patterns were recognized in the same study using cross-validation to form resemblance scores associated with breast cancer. Texture patterns from S1 were examined in an independent nested case-control study within the Mayo Mammography Health Study cohort (S2) of 226 cases and 442 matched controls: mammograms on average 8.5 years prior to diagnosis, risk factor information and percent mammographic density (PD) estimated using Cumulus were available. MTR scores estimated from S1, S2 and S1 + S2 (the latter two as cross-validations) were evaluated in S2. MTR scores were analyzed as both quartiles and continuously for association with breast cancer using odds ratios (OR) and adjusting for known risk factors including age, body mass index (BMI), and hormone usage.

The mean ages of S1 and S2 were 58.0 ± 5.7 years and 55.2 ± 10.5 years, respectively. The MTR scores on S1 showed significant capability to discriminate cancers from controls (area under the operator characteristics curve (AUC) = 0.63 ± 0.02, P <0.001), which persisted after adjustment for PD. S2 showed an AUC of 0.63, 0.61, and 0.60 based on PD, MTR scores trained on S2, and MTR scores trained on S1, respectively. When adjusted for PD, MTR scores of S2 trained on S1 showed an association with breast cancer for the highest quartile alone: OR in quartiles of controls as reference; 1.04 (0.59 to 1.81); 0.95 (0.52 to 1.74); 1.84 (1.10 to 3.07) respectively. The combined continuous model with both PD and MTR scores based on S1 had an AUC of 0.66 ± 0.03.

The local texture patterns associated with breast cancer risk in S1 were also an independent risk factor in S2. Additional textures identified in S2 did not significantly improve risk segregation. Hence, the textural patterns that indicated elevated risk persisted under differences in X-ray technology, population demographics, follow-up time and geography.