Bioimpedence to Assess Breast Density as a Risk Factor for Breast Cancer in Adult Women and Adolescent Girls


Although high mammographic density is one of the strongest predictors of breast cancer risk, X-ray based mammography cannot be performed before the recommended screening age, especially not in adolescents and young women. Therefore, new techniques for breast density measurement are of interest. In this pilot study in Guam and Hawaii, we evaluated a radiation-free, bioimpedance device called Electrical Breast Densitometer™ (EBD; senoSENSE Medical Systems, Inc., Ontario, Canada) for measuring breast density in 95 women aged 31-82 years and 41 girls aged 8-18 years. Percent density (PD) was estimated in the women’s most recent mammogram using a computer-assisted method. Correlation coefficients and linear regression were applied for statistical analysis. In adult women, mean EBD and PD values of the left and right breasts were 230±52 and 226±50 Ω and 23.7±15.1 and 24.2±15.2%, respectively. The EBD measurements were inversely correlated with PD (rSpearman=-0.52, p<0.0001); the correlation was stronger in Caucasians (rSpearman=-0.70, p<0.0001) than Asians (rSpearman=-0.54, p<0.01) and Native Hawaiian/Chamorro/Pacific Islanders (rSpearman=-0.34, p=0.06). Using 4 categories of PD (<10, 10-25, 26-50, 51-75%), the respective mean EBD values were 256±32, 249±41, 202±46, and 178±43 Ω (p<0.0001). In girls, the mean EBD values in the left and right breast were 148 40 and 155±54 Ω; EBD values decreased from Tanner stages 1 to 4 (204±14, 154±79, 136±43, and 119±16 Ω for stages 1-4, respectively) but were higher at Tanner stage 5 (165±30 Ω). With further development, this bioimpedance method may allow for investigations of breast development among adolescent, as well as assessment of breast cancer risk early in life and in populations without access to mammography.