3-D mammography detects more invasive cancers and reduces call-back rates

June 24, 2014
3D mammography detects more invasive cancers and reduces call-back rates
3D mammography detects more invasive cancers and reduces call-back rates, large study published in JAMA finds. Credit: Penn Medicine

Reporting in the June 25 issue of JAMA, researchers from Penn Medicine and other institutions found that 3D mammography—known as digital breast tomosynthesis— found significantly more invasive, or potentially lethal, cancers than a traditional mammogram alone and reduced call-backs for additional imaging. This is the largest study reported to date—with nearly a half a million women—measuring the effectiveness of the technology, and could potentially lead to a change in the standard of care for breast screening.

"It's the most exciting improvement to mammography that I have seen in my career, even more important for than the conversion from film-screen mammography to digital mammography," said senior author Emily F. Conant, MD, chief of Breast Imaging the department of Radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "3D mammography finds more clinically significant cancers earlier, which is the key so that women have moretreatment options and ultimately better health outcomes."

In the retrospective study, the researchers looked at 281,187 digital mammography examinations and 173,663 examinations with both tomosynthesis and digital mammography between 2010 and 2012. The data set included women from a wide range of screening programs that were both geographically diverse and included both academic and community practices, 13 in total.

Researchers found 41 percent more invasive cancers when women were screened with tomosynthesis plus digital compared to digital mammography alone. The use of tomosynthesis also reduced the number of women called back for unnecessary screenings due to false alarms by 15 percent.

Conventional digital mammography is the most widely-used screening modality for breast cancer, but may yield suspicious findings that turn out not to be cancer, known as false-positives. Such findings are associated with a higher recall rate, or the rate at which women are called back for additional imaging or biopsy that may be deemed unnecessary.

Tomosynthesis, however, allows for 3-D reconstruction of the breast tissue, giving radiologists a clearer view of the overlapping slices of breast tissue. And though a relatively new technology, it has shown promise at reducing recall rates in all groups of patients, including younger women and those with dense , and better detection rates in smaller studies. In 2011, tomosynthesis was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be used in combination with standard for .

3D mammography is the only method used for breast cancer imaging that has demonstrated this combined benefit, the authors report. While 3D mammography found more invasive cancers, detection of in situ cancers (non-invasive cancers) was similar to a traditional mammography.

Since October 2011, all screening mammograms at Penn Medicine's Perelman Center for Advanced Center now include tomosynthesis according to Dr. Conant.

"The coming years will be very exciting, as we see further improvements in this innovative technology," said Conant. "This new technology will certainly change the way we screen women."

Explore further: 3D mammography increases cancer detection and reduces call-back rates, study finds

More information: JAMA, DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.6095 and DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.6421

Related Stories

3D mammography increases cancer detection and reduces call-back rates, study finds

December 3, 2013
Compared to traditional mammography, 3D mammography—known as digital breast tomosynthesis—found 22 percent more breast cancers and led to fewer call backs in a large screening study at the Hospital of the University of ...

Breast tomosynthesis increases cancer detection and reduces recall rates

December 3, 2013
Researchers have found that digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) led to reduced recall rates and an increase in cancer detection in a large breast cancer screening program. The results of this study were presented today at ...

3-D breast imaging could revolutionize cancer screening

June 17, 2014
In community-based radiology practice, mammography screening with 3D digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) yielded lower recall rates, an increased overall cancer detection rate, and an increased detection rate for invasive ...

Tomosynthesis reduces breast cancer screening recall rate

July 30, 2013
Digital tomosynthesis is an effective tool for reducing the recall rate in breast cancer screening, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

Digital breast tomosynthesis cuts recall rates by 40 percent

May 3, 2012
Adding digital breast tomosynthesis to 2D mammography screening results in a 40% reduction in patient recall rates compared to routine screening mammography alone, a new study shows.

Breast tomosynthesis after screening mammography reduces need for ultrasound, biopsies

May 7, 2014
Breast tomosynthesis in the diagnostic workup for one- or two-view focal asymmetry detected at screening mammography resulted in less use of ultrasound, fewer biopsies, and higher positive predictive value for cancer than ...

Recommended for you

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

Novel CRISPR-Cas9 screening enables discovery of new targets to aid cancer immunotherapy

July 19, 2017
A novel screening method developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center—using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to test the function of thousands of tumor genes in mice—has ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.