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Arterial calcium on mammograms is not associated with inflammatory markers for heart disease risk
  1. A H E M Maas1,
  2. Y T van der Schouw2,
  3. D Beijerinck3,
  4. J J Deurenberg3,
  5. W P T M Mali4,
  6. Y van der Graaf2
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, Isala Klinieken, Zwolle, the Netherlands
  2. 2Julius Centre for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands
  3. 3Preventicon Breast Cancer Screening Centre, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Radiology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Angela H E M Maas
    Isala Klinieken, Department of Cardiology, Groot Wezenland 20, 8011 JW Zwolle, Netherlands; a.maas{at}

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Calcifications along the wall of the breast arteries are commonly seen on mammograms, but it is still unclear whether they can identify women at risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). In breast cancer screening populations the prevalence of breast arterial calcium (BAC) is 9%, whereas it is present in 23% of women at increased risk for CHD.1 Although several studies have shown that classic cardiovascular risk factors for atherosclerosis are associated with mammographic arterial calcifications, thus far the correlation with clinical coronary artery disease is controversial.2,3 As other factors such as the total number of pregnancies are important in the prevalence of BAC, its multiple causes remain poorly understood.1

Chronic low grade inflammation is an important aspect of atherosclerosis. Data on inflammatory markers such as fibrinogen and high sensitivity C reactive protein (hs-CRP) in calcification of atherosclerotic arteries are conflicting and not studied in arterial calcifications on mammograms.4 To further explore the pathophysiological process of BAC we investigated mammograms and inflammatory markers in women from a breast cancer screening program. …

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  • Competing interests: None declared.