News | Mammography | January 16, 2019

Digital Mammography Increases Breast Cancer Detection

U.K. study evaluates more than 11 million screening mammograms

Digital Mammography Increases Breast Cancer Detection

January 16, 2019 — The shift from film to digital mammography increased the detection of breast cancer by 14 percent overall in the United Kingdom without increasing the recall rate, according to a major new study appearing in the journal Radiology.1

Digital mammography was introduced into clinical use more than 15 years ago and has been widely adopted due to the numerous advantages it has over its predecessor, screen film mammography.

“Image quality with digital mammography is improved over that of screen film mammography,” said radiologist and study coauthor Rosalind M. Given-Wilson, MBBS, from St. Georges University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in London. “In particular, digital mammography provides the ability to visualize calcifications and see through denser tissue, and it allows the reader to adjust the image.”

Given-Wilson and colleagues assessed digital mammography’s impact on cancer detection using data from the 80 facilities of the English National Health Service Breast Cancer Screening Program. The huge trove of data combined with estimates of digital mammography usage enabled the researchers to measure the effect of digital mammography in 11.3 million screening exams in women between the ages of 45 and 70.

The overall cancer detection rate was 14 percent greater with digital mammography, with substantially higher detection of grade 1 and grade 2 invasive cancers — early-stage cancers that could advance to life-threatening disease if not detected and treated early enough.

At first screening exams for women aged 45 to 52, digital mammography increased the overall detection rate by 19 percent. Importantly, the higher sensitivity of digital mammography did not increase the recall rate — the rate at which women are called back for additional screening based on suspicious results.

“This improvement happened in the absence of other changes in the English screening program, such as a change in recall rate or introduction of computer-aided detection, so we can be clear that the increased rate of detection is due to the change in technology,” Given-Wilson said.

Digital mammography increased the detection of some types of cancers more than others. For instance, digital mammography significantly increased the detection of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), an early-stage cancer confined to the milk ducts of the breast, at both first screens and subsequent screens.

“These results confirm that digital mammography is superior to screen film mammography in finding invasive cancers and DCIS,” Given-Wilson said. “Women are more likely to have a cancer detected with a digital mammogram.”

While digital mammography improved detection of grade 1 and 2 cancers, the researchers found no improvement in the detection of grade 3 invasive cancers. Grade 3 cancers are faster-growing and more likely to spread than grade 1 and 2 cancers.

The researchers are looking at the radiological features of grade 3 cancers on digital mammography to see if optimizing the image for these lesions, which are often nonspecific and ill-defined soft tissue densities, can aid detection. They are also studying the relationship between grade 3 cancers and subsequent interval cancers, or cancers that appear between screenings.

For more information: www.pubs.rsna.org/journal/radiology

Reference

1. Blanks R.G., Wallis M.G., Alison R., et al. Impact of Digital Mammography on Cancer Detection and Recall Rates: 11.3 Million Screening Episodes in the English National Health Service Breast Cancer Screening Program. Radiology, Dec. 11, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1148/radiol.2018181426

Related Content

Proton Therapy Lowers Risk of Side Effects Compared to Conventional Radiation
News | Proton Therapy | May 23, 2019
Cancer patients getting proton therapy instead of traditional photon radiation are at a significantly lower risk of...
VolparaDensity With Tyrer-Cuzick Model Improves Breast Cancer Risk Stratification
News | Breast Density | May 22, 2019
Research has demonstrated use of Volpara Solutions' VolparaDensity software in combination with the Tyrer-Cuzick Breast...
Partial Breast Irradiation Effective, Convenient Treatment Option for Low-Risk Breast Cancer
News | Radiation Therapy | May 20, 2019
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast...
AI Detects Unsuspected Lung Cancer in Radiology Reports, Augments Clinical Follow-up
News | Artificial Intelligence | May 20, 2019
Digital Reasoning announced results from its automated radiology report analytics research. In a series of experiments...
New Study Evaluates Head CT Examinations and Patient Complexity
News | Neuro Imaging | May 17, 2019
Computed tomography (CT) of the head uses special X-ray equipment to help assess head injuries, dizziness and other...
New Phase 2B Trial Exploring Target-Specific Myocardial Ischemia Imaging Agent
News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | May 17, 2019
Biopharmaceutical company CellPoint plans to begin patient recruitment for its Phase 2b cardiovascular imaging study in...
Managing Architectural Distortion on Mammography Based on MR Enhancement
News | Mammography | May 15, 2019
High negative predictive values (NPV) in mammography architectural distortion (AD) without ultrasonographic (US)...
Icon Launches New Clinical Trial Patient Engagement Platform
Technology | Patient Engagement | May 14, 2019
Icon plc announced the release of its web-based clinical trial patient engagement platform, to provide patients with...
Radiotherapy After Chemo May Improve Survival in Advanced Hodgkin's Lymphoma Patients
News | Radiation Therapy | May 10, 2019
Patients with advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma who have large tumors at the time of diagnosis may benefit from radiotherapy...
Screening MRI Detects BI-RADS 3 Breast Cancer in High-risk Patients
News | MRI Breast | May 09, 2019
When appropriate, short-interval follow-up magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to identify early-stage breast...