Use of 3-D breast tomo with mammo finds more cancers

Adding 3-D digital breast tomosynthesis to conventional mammography (2-D) not only finds more cancers, but reduce false positive rates, according to a study published online April 25 in Lancet Oncology.

A team of Italian and Australian researchers performed a prospective comparative study in which they recruited asymptomatic women 48 years or older who underwent population-based breast cancer screening in Italy from August 2011 to June 2012. More than 7,000 women were included in the study.

The researchers, led by Stefano Ciatto, Ph.D., found that the combination of 3-D tomosynthesis and conventional mammography identified 8.1 cancers per 1,000 screening examinations, compared to conventional mammography alone with 5.3 cancers--a cancer detection rate greater than 50 percent. The incremental cancer rate attributable to integrated 2-D and 3-D mammography was 2.7 cancers per 1,000 screens.

The researchers also found that 395 women had false-positive recalls at either 2-D or 3-D screening, while the combined 2-D and 3-D approach resulted in just 73 false positives, compared to 141 with 2-D mammography.

"We hope that our work might be the beginning of a new chapter for mammography screening," the authors wrote. [O]ur findings should encourage new assessments of screening using 2-D and 3-D mammography, and should factor several issues related to our study."

According to the authors, the results are similar to those that came out of the Oslo Breast Cancer Screening Trial, which were published online in January in the journal Radiology. In that study, as reported in FierceMedicalImaging, Per Skaane, a radiologist at Oslo University Hospital in Norway, found that 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.

"What is remarkable is the general consistency between our findings and those of the interim results of the Oslo study," co-author Nehmat Houssami, Ph.D., from at the University of Sydney School of Public Health in Australia, told "Both studies show that adding DBT to standard mammography significantly increases cancer detection rates."

To learn more:
- see the study in Lancet Oncology
- see the article in


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