(HealthDay) -- The No Touch Breast Scan (NTBS), an infrared thermography modality, is not as reliable as mammography for detecting breast cancer, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, held from May 2 to 6 in Phoenix.
Cara Marie Guilfoyle, M.D., from Bryn Mawr Hospital in Pennsylvania, and colleagues assessed the value of NTBS screening as a predictor of breast cancer in 178 female patients with abnormal radiologic findings, from October 2009 to May 2011. Participants underwent NTBS, followed by tissue biopsy, and tissue pathologies were compared with corresponding scan results. Before Oct. 15, 2010, patients were scanned with a high-specificity mode (NTBS1). A high-sensitivity mode (NTBS2) was subsequently used to minimize false-negative results and all participants were retrospectively assessed using the NTBS2 mode.
The researchers found that 50 patients had 52 positive breast biopsies and 128 patients had 132 negative biopsies. Twenty-six of the 52 positive biopsies had a positive NTBS (50 percent sensitivity) and 88 of the 132 negative biopsies had a negative NTBS scan (67 percent specificity). The positive and negative predictive values were 37 and 77 percent, respectively. For the 156 patients assessed using NTBS2, the sensitivity was 87 percent and the specificity was 48 percent. The positive and negative predictive values were 40 and 90 percent, respectively.
"Infrared screening cannot be used as a successful adjunct to mammography, nor can it replace any of the screening modalities that are standard practice," the authors conclude. "Mammography remains the gold standard for breast cancer screening."
Explore further: Ultrasound proves safe alternative to biopsy in some breast masses