Mammographic features are associated with cardiometabolic disease risk and mortality

Felix Grassmann* (Corresponding Author), Haomin Yang, Mikael Eriksson, Shadi Azam, Per Hall, Kamila Czene

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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In recent years, microcalcifications identified in routine mammograms were found to be associated with cardiometabolic disease in women. Here, we aimed to systematically evaluate the association of microcalcifications and other mammographic features with cardiometabolic disease risk and mortality in a large screening cohort and to understand a potential genetic contribution.
Methods and results
This study included 57 867 women from a prospective mammographic screening cohort in Sweden (KARMA) and 49 583 sisters. Cardiometabolic disease diagnoses and mortality and medication were extracted by linkage to Swedish population registries with virtually no missing data. In the cardiometabolic phenome-wide association study, we found that a higher number of microcalcifications were associated with increased risk for multiple cardiometabolic diseases, particularly in women with pre-existing cardiometabolic diseases. In contrast, dense breasts were associated with a lower incidence of cardiometabolic diseases. Importantly, we observed similar associations in sisters of KARMA women, indicating a potential genetic overlap between mammographic features and cardiometabolic traits. Finally, we observed that the presence of microcalcifications was associated with increased cardiometabolic mortality in women with pre-existing cardiometabolic diseases (hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval: 1.79 [1.24–2.58], P = 0.002) while we did not find such effects in women without cardiometabolic diseases.
We found that mammographic features are associated with cardiometabolic risk and mortality. Our results strengthen the notion that a combination of mammographic features and other breast cancer risk factors could be a novel and affordable tool to assess cardiometabolic health in women attending mammographic screening.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3361–3370
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2021


  • Mammographic screening
  • Cardiometabolic diseases
  • Ageing
  • BMI
  • Microcalcifications
  • Breast cancer genetics


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