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Breast Tomosynthesis Finds More Cancers Than Mammography


Digital breast tomosynthesis screening found more cancers than mammography, and reduced recall rates.

Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) in cancer screening significantly decreases recall rate (RR) and finds more cancers than 2D mammography, according to a study published in Radiology.

Researchers from Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, performed a prospective study to compare the recall and cancer detection rates (CDRs) between DBT and 2D mammography. The study included 85,852 asymptomatic women who underwent breast cancer screening at the researchers’ facility from 2011 to 2014.

After a DBT unit became available in the facility, women presenting for screening were assigned to either DBT or 2D mammography according to the first available machine. At the end of the study, 5,703 (6.6%) of the women had undergone DBT examinations and 80,149 (93.4%) 2D mammography examinations. Ten breast-subspecialized radiologists interpreted most of the examinations (90%).[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"44158","attributes":{"alt":"breast imaging","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_5628363967761","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"4919","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"height: 120px; width: 120px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px; float: right;","title":"©karelnoppe/Shutterstock.com","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

The results showed that the DBT subgroup contained a higher proportion of patients with risk factors for breast cancer and baseline examinations. Screening with DBT found more carcinomas (54.3%) than did 2D mammography. The recall rate was also lower with DBT, at 6.10%, compared with 2D mammography at 54.3%. “The DBT subgroup demonstrated a significantly lower RR for patients with extremely or heterogeneously dense breasts and for patients in their 5th and 7th decades,” the authors wrote.

The researchers concluded that implementing DBT into breast screening programs provided a decrease in RR and increased CDR.

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