Early detection increased with 3D vs 2D mammography

June 13, 2013

A large-scale observational comparison of 2D vs 3D mammography by researchers at a Texas breast center shows a benefit for 3D technology in cancer detection rates.

 

A large-scale observational comparison of 2D vs 3D mammography by researchers at a Texas breast center shows a benefit for 3D technology in cancer detection rates. 

Published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, the study included more than 22,000 patients and was conducted between 2010 and 2012. Six radiologists interpreted screening mammography studies done in 13,856 women with 2D technology versus 9,499 such studies with 3D technology, also known as tomosynthesis.  Two-sided analysis was performed to account for reader variability, participant age, and whether the examination in question was a baseline reading.

The researchers found that tomosynthesis reduced recall rates from 8.7% to 5.5% (P<0.001) and biopsy rates from 15.2 to 13.5 per 1000 screenings (P=0.59). With 3D mammography, cancer detection rates also increased from 4.0 to 5.4 per 1000 screenings (P=0.18) and the rate of detection of invasive disease rose from 2.8 to 4.3 per 1000 screening examinations (P=0.07). The positive predictive value for recalls increased from 4.7% to 10.1% (P<0.001).

Principal author Stephen L. Rose, MD, said tomosynthesis makes the detectable tumor size smaller and that with the technology, “we are finding cancerous breast tumors as small as 2 to 3 mm.”