New study shows 2D + 3D mammography finds 90 percent more breast cancers than 2D mammography alone

According to a new study released in RSNA’s June issue  of the journal Radiology, doctors reported the combination of 2D and 3D mammography to be more effective at finding breast cancer compared to 2D alone.

When it comes to fighting breast cancer, mammography screening is often considered the first line of defense. Many medical association guidelines, such as the American Cancer Society and the European Society of Breast Imaging, recommend that women between 40 and 50 years of age start receiving regular breast cancer screenings every one to three years. Finding breast cancer early reduces a woman’s risk of dying from the disease by 25-30 percent or more[1].

The study, conducted by radiologists and scientists in charge of the breast cancer screening program in Reggio Emilia, Italy, tests the effectiveness of 3D mammography for screening by combining it with 2D mammography to see if the combination could have a beneficial impact on patient prognosis compared with 2D alone. In Europe, 2D mammography is currently the standard for population-based screening programs.

The study is the first European clinical study of 2D and 3D mammography to be conducted as a population-based, prospective, randomized trial. The researchers conducted breast cancer screening exams on roughly 20,000 women using GE Healthcare mammography technology, comparing results from the 3D and 2D combination to those from 2D alone.

By adding 3D to 2D mammography for screening, the researchers detected 90 percent more cancers than with 2D alone – and with a similar recall rate. By adding 3D mammography, the percentage of false positive results was lowered by 25 percent compared to 2D alone, helping to avoid additional exams and anxiety for women called back for further tests despite not having a cancer diagnosis.  

The study also found the addition of 3D mammography provided similar detection rates in all breast density classes, with roughly a 70 percent increase in detection in women with dense breasts. Additionally, it showed a 94 percent increase in detecting small invasive cancers, which are usually more treatable, and a 122 percent increase in detecting medium-sized invasive cancers.

This research is part of a larger study looking at interval cancers, or those detected between screening exams, and cumulative incidence of advanced cancers.

 

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