Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 174, Issue 1, pp 249–255 | Cite as

Milk intake and mammographic density in premenopausal women

  • Yunan Han
  • Xiaoyu Zong
  • Yize Li
  • Graham A. Colditz
  • Adetunji T. ToriolaEmail author



Mammographic density is a strong risk factor for breast cancer. Although diet is associated with breast cancer risk, there are limited studies linking adult diet, including milk intake, with mammographic density. Here, we investigate the association of milk intake with mammographic density in premenopausal women.


We analyzed data from 375 cancer-free premenopausal women who had routine screening mammography at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri in 2016. We used Volpara to measure volumetric percent density, dense volume, and non-dense volume. We collected information on recent milk intake (past 12 months), and categorized skim milk and low/reduced-fat milk intake into 4 groups: < 1/week, 1/week, 2–6 times/week, ≥ 1/day, while whole and soy milk intake were categorized into 2 groups: < 1/week, ≥ 1/week. We used multivariable linear regression model to evaluate the associations of milk intake and log-transformed volumetric percent density, dense volume, and non-dense volume.


In multivariable analyses, volumetric percent density was 20% (p-value = 0.003) lower in the 1/week group, 14% (p-value = 0.047) lower in the 2–6/week group, and 12% (p-value = 0.144) lower in the ≥ 1/day group (p-trend = 0.011) compared with women who consumed low/reduced-fat milk < 1/week. Attenuated and non-significant associations were observed for low/reduced-fat milk intake and dense volume. There were no associations of whole, skim, and soy milk intake with volumetric percent density and dense volume.


Recent low/reduced-fat milk intake was inversely associated with volumetric percent density in premenopausal women. Studies on childhood and adolescent milk intake and adult mammographic density in premenopausal women are needed.


Milk intake Mammographic density Dairy Diet Breast cancer 



Breast imaging reporting and data system


Body mass index


Conjugated linoleic acid


Estrogen receptor


Institutional review board


Standard deviation



We acknowledge the study coordinators, especially Kellie Imm, and Linda Li who helped with participant recruitment and data entry.


The study is supported by funds from the Susan G. Komen Foundation (CCR15332379-Dr. Toriola), Siteman Cancer Center Siteman Investment Program supported by The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital Cancer Frontier Fund (BJFH CFF 3781 & 4035) and Washington University School of Medicine; Siteman Cancer Center Biostatistics Shared Resource. The Siteman Cancer Center is supported in part by an NCI Cancer Center Support Grant #P30 CA091842. Dr. Colditz is supported by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Dr. Han is supported by awards from Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Breast Cancer Research Foundation (Award ID: BCRF-17-028). The funders had no role in study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation of data, preparation of the report, or decision to publish.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval for this study was provided by the Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO Institutional Review Board.

Supplementary material

10549_2018_5062_MOESM1_ESM.docx (37 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 36 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of SurgeryWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Breast SurgeryFirst Hospital of China Medical UniversityShenyangChina
  3. 3.Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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