Nav: Home

Breast density and outcomes of supplemental breast cancer screening

April 26, 2016

In a study appearing in the April 26 issue of JAMA, Elizabeth A. Rafferty, M.D., formerly of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and colleagues evaluated the screening performance of digital mammography combined with tomosynthesis (a type of imaging) compared with digital mammography alone for women with varying levels of breast density.

Breast density is associated with reduced mammographic sensitivity and specificity, and increased tumor size and worsened prognosis are associated with increased breast density. Currently, 24 states have laws mandating that women be notified of the implications of breast density, thereby encouraging discussions between patients and physicians regarding the need for supplemental screening. However, which, if any, additional testing should be recommended for women with dense breasts is not known.

This study included data from screening performance metrics from 13 U.S. institutions, which were reported for 12 months using digital mammography alone and from the date of introduction of tomosynthesis. Subgroups included the 4 breast density categories used for clinical reporting. Overall and invasive cancer detection rates and recall rate with and without tomosynthesis were analyzed in patients with both nondense and dense breasts.

Of 452,320 examinations, 278,906 were digital mammography alone and 173,414 digital mammography plus tomosynthesis; 2,157 cancers were diagnosed. The researchers found that the addition of tomosynthesis to digital mammography for screening was associated with an increase in cancer detection rate and a reduction in recall rate for women with both dense and nondense breast tissue. "These combined gains were largest for women with heterogeneously dense breasts, potentially addressing limitations in cancer detection seen with digital mammography alone in this group, but were not significant in women with extremely dense breasts."

The authors note that for women classified as having dense breast tissue, most have heterogeneously dense breasts, mandating caution in drawing conclusions regarding the performance of tomosynthesis for the small proportion of women with extremely dense breasts.
-end-
(doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1708; this study is available pre-embargo at the For The Media website.)

Editor's Note: Dr. Rafferty is now with L&M Radiology, West Acton, Mass. This study was funded by a research grant from Hologic. All authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none were reported.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Breast Density Articles:

Breast density assessment varies greatly by screening method and race
Fewer women are assigned to a dense breast category when evaluated with advanced mammographic screening technologies compared to standard digital mammography, according to a new study.
Artificial intelligence used in clinical practice to measure breast density
An artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm measures breast density at the level of an experienced mammographer, according to a new study.
A fracture anywhere reduces bone density everywhere
New studies from UC Davis Health are among the first to associate fractures with systemic bone loss.
The relationship between charge density waves and superconductivity? It's complicated
For a long time, physicists have tried to understand the relationship between a periodic pattern of conduction electrons called a charge density wave (CDW), and another quantum order, superconductivity, or zero electrical resistance, in the same material.
Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.
More Breast Density News and Breast Density Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...