Breast arterial calcification and low bone mass (LBM) were strongly linked to risk of coronary artery disease in asymptomatic women, according to a cross-sectional registry study.
The results suggest that breast arterial calcification – easily visible on every mammogram – “provides an independent and incremental predictive value over conventional risk factors,” wrote Yeonyee E. Yoon, MD, and colleagues from Seoul National University Bundang Hospital in Seongnam, South Korea.
In addition, they show that “atherosclerosis imaging allows a more direct visualization of the cumulative effects of all risk determinants in an individual patient,” they noted. The report is in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging.
The researchers evaluated 2,100 asymptomatic women aged at least 40 years in the Women Health Registry Study for Bone, Breast, and Coronary Artery Disease (BBC study). All underwent a self-referred health evaluation that included simultaneous dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA), and digital mammography. They predicted the 10-year risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) with the Korean Risk Prediction Model (KRPM) and Pooled Cohort Equation (PCE).
Overall, Dr. Yoon and colleagues found that 199 patients (9.5%) had BAC and 716 patients (34.1%) had LBM, with 235 patients (11.2%) having coronary artery calcification (CAC) and 328 with coronary artery plaque (CAP, 15.6%). BAC presence was associated with CAC (unadjusted odds ratio, 3.54), with mild (OR, 2.84) and severe BAC scores (OR, 5.50) having a greater association with CAC. All associations were statistically significant at P less than .001.
LBM also had a positive link with CAC that grew with its severity. Specifically, the odds ratio of CAC with osteopenia, defined as a T-score between –1.0 and –2.5, was 2.06, and that for osteoporosis, defined as a T-score at or below –2.5, was 3.21. All links were significant at P less than .001.
Similarly, BAC and LBM were also significantly tied to coronary artery plaque, with mild (OR, 2.61) and moderate (OR, 4.15) BAC severity as well as osteopenia (OR, 1.76) and osteoporosis (OR 2.82) being significantly associated with CAP (all P less than .001).
In a multivariable analysis, BAC presence and BAC score were significantly associated with CAC and CAP after adjustment for 10-year ASCVD risk. Predictions for CAC and CAP under the KRPM and PCE curve analyses showed a significant increase of areas under the curve (0.71 vs. 0.64), while adding BAC presence significantly increased the AUCs for the KRPM curve analysis (0.61 vs 0.64).
“Being able to predict CAC or CAP presence in an individual patient based on the presence and severity of BAC in addition to the use of conventional risk stratification algorithms may help clinicians decide when to recommend further cardiac tests and how aggressive interventions to prescribe in order to prevent the onset of clinical CAD,” the researchers noted.
They added that patients were all self-referred women, and results may not be generalizable to a larger population. The study’s retrospective nature also is a limitation, the researchers wrote. However, they said they are planning a future trial that will attempt to determine whether there is a long-term clinical benefit to identifying BAC and LBM in women without symptoms of CAD.
This study was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea; the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning; and the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital Research Fund. The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
SOURCE: Yoon YE et al. JACC: Cardiovasc Imaging. 2018 Aug 15. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2018.07.004.