Tomo plus mammography increases detection of invasive cancers

Breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, combined with conventional breast imaging, increases cancer detection, according to a study published online Jan. 7 in Radiology.

According to the study, by Per Skaane, a radiologist at Oslo University Hospital in Norway, tomosynthesis combined with traditional imaging resulted in a 40 percent increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers, as well as a 15 percent decrease in false positives.

Skaane and his colleagues used data from the Oslo Breast Cancer Screening Trial to analyze the results of 12,631 exams interpreted using mammography alone and mammography, plus tomosynthesis in the 13 months from November 2010 to December 2011.

The researchers found that mammography plus tomosynthesis resulted in the detection of an additional 25 invasive cancers, compared to mammography alone (a 40 percent increase). Detection rates for in situ cancers and invasive cancers were eight per 1,000 examinations for mammography plus tomosynthesis, a 27 percent increase over the 6.1 detection rate for mammography alone.

In addition, false-positive rates with mammography alone were 61.1 per 1,000 examinations, compared to 53.1 per 1,000 examinations with mammography plus tomosynthesis (a 15 percent decrease). The mean interpretation time was 45 seconds for mammography alone, and 91 seconds for mammography plus tomosynthesis.

Skaane told that more research needs to be done before tomosynthesis can be used in organized screening programs. The Oslo Breast Cancer Screening Trial "has four arms--one of which includes synthetic 2-D images--but this analysis evaluated only two," he said. "If these results also can be proved for the other two arms, there will be great impact on future mammography screening, due to the significantly higher cancer detection rate."

For more:
- see the study abstract
- read the article at


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