Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Performance of the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool Among Women Age 75 Years and Older.

  • Author(s): Schonberg, Mara A
  • Li, Vicky W
  • Eliassen, A Heather
  • Davis, Roger B
  • LaCroix, Andrea Z
  • McCarthy, Ellen P
  • Rosner, Bernard A
  • Chlebowski, Rowan T
  • Rohan, Thomas E
  • Hankinson, Susan E
  • Marcantonio, Edward R
  • Ngo, Long H
  • et al.

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.


The Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (BCRAT, "Gail model") is commonly used for breast cancer prediction; however, it has not been validated for women age 75 years and older.


We used Nurses' Health Study (NHS) data beginning in 2004 and Women's Health Initiative (WHI) data beginning in 2005 to compare BCRAT's performance among women age 75 years and older with that in women age 55 to 74 years in predicting five-year breast cancer incidence. BCRAT risk factors include: age, race/ethnicity, age at menarche, age at first birth, family history, history of benign breast biopsy, and atypia. We examined BCRAT's calibration by age by comparing expected/observed (E/O) ratios of breast cancer incidence. We examined discrimination by computing c-statistics for the model by age. All statistical tests were two-sided.


Seventy-three thousand seventy-two NHS and 97 081 WHI women participated. NHS participants were more likely to be non-Hispanic white (96.2% vs 84.7% in WHI, P < .001) and were less likely to develop breast cancer (1.8% vs 2.0%, P = .02). E/O ratios by age in NHS were 1.16 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.09 to 1.23, age 57-74 years) and 1.31 (95% CI = 1.18 to 1.45, age ≥ 75 years, P = .02), and in WHI 1.03 (95% CI = 0.97 to 1.09, age 55-74 years) and 1.10 (95% CI = 1.00 to 1.21, age ≥ 75 years, P = .21). E/O ratio 95% confidence intervals crossed one among women age 75 years and older when samples were limited to women who underwent mammography and were without significant illness. C-statistics ranged between 0.56 and 0.58 in both cohorts regardless of age.


BCRAT accurately predicted breast cancer for women age 75 years and older who underwent mammography and were without significant illness but had modest discrimination. Models that consider individual competing risks of non-breast cancer death may improve breast cancer risk prediction for older women.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item