Doctors and researchers from the Hospital del Mar and the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) have developed and validated a new model that allows predicting the risk of developing breast cancer in the long term, even twenty years from now.
The new prediction model, published in the journal ‘PLOS-ONE’, is designed for women between the ages of 50 and 69 who participate in breast cancer screening and has been developed after analyzing data from 122,000 women who underwent screening programs in the hospitals del Mar and Sant Pau between 1995 and 2015.
According to the mathematician and researcher of the IMIM Epidemiology and Evaluation Group, Javier Louro, current models allow a maximum of two, five or ten years to predict the risk of a woman developing this disease, and they were not, in general terms, aimed at women participating in breast cancer screening.
The new model takes into account the age of women and their family history, those of benign lesions in the breast and the presence of suspicious patterns in previous imaging tests, to establish the risk of developing breast cancer over a period of time. from two to twenty years old.
“The model makes it possible, for the first time, to predict the risk of developing the disease at intervals of two years, up to the age of twenty, when, generally, previous models had a prediction capacity of only a single time horizon”, according to Louro.
The scientist has highlighted that this fact may make it possible to adapt the follow-up of patients according to their risk, personalizing the frequency of screening tests, which are now done every two years for all women between 50 and 69 years of age.
“Currently, breast cancer screening treats all women between the ages of 50 and 69 the same. But within this group there are women who, depending on their characteristics, may have a higher risk of suffering from the disease than others. They are variable that must be taken into account “, has stressed Louro.
At the same time, as a novelty, the model has been developed specifically taking into account the characteristics of women of age to undergo screening and has a discrimination capacity of even 64%, despite the fact that the authors are analyzing another variable, the density of the breast, to increase its predictability.
Researchers have analyzed twenty years of data from the screening programs, with a mean follow-up of 7.5 years of the women who went through the programs.
Of the 122,000 women who were screened, 2,058 went on to develop breast cancer. The analysis reveals that the highest risk was detected in those with a family history of this disease, benign proliferative lesions and active calcifications.
The work follows the lines set by the European Conference on Personalized Early Detection and Prevention of Breast Cancer (ENVISION) to personalize screening programs and opens the door to modify the frequency of tests based on the risk variables of the patients, in addition to adapting the type of diagnostic test to each case, according to Marta Román, principal investigator of the project and member of the Hospital del Mar’s Epidemiology and Evaluation Service.
With the new model, according to Román, “women at higher risk could be offered a mammogram every year or an MRI, which is more accurate, instead of a mammogram every two years. lower risk, the time between these could be extended. “