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Original Investigation
February 25, 2020

Comparison of Abbreviated Breast MRI vs Digital Breast Tomosynthesis for Breast Cancer Detection Among Women With Dense Breasts Undergoing Screening

Author Affiliations
  • 1Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
  • 2Department of Biostatistics and Center for Statistical Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island
  • 3University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
  • 4Center for Statistical Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island
  • 5Center for Statistical Sciences, Department of Epidemiology, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island
  • 6UW Cancer Center at ProHealth Care, Waukesha, Wisconsin
  • 7Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington
  • 8West Michigan Cancer Center, Kalamazoo
  • 9University of Virginia Cancer Center, Charlottesville
  • 10Now with the Department of Radiology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
  • 11Community Hospital, Munster, Indiana
  • 12Rhode Island Hospital, Providence
  • 13Delaware/Christiana Care NCORP, Newark
  • 14Gundersen Health System, La Crosse, Wisconsin
  • 15Indiana University, Indianapolis
  • 16University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 17University Hospital of RWTH Aachen, Aachen, Germany
JAMA. 2020;323(8):746-756. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.0572
Key Points

Question  What is the invasive breast cancer detection rate of abbreviated breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) compared with digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) in women with dense breasts undergoing routine screening?

Findings  In this cross-sectional study with longitudinal follow-up including 1444 women who underwent both abbreviated breast MRI and DBT, interpreted independently, abbreviated breast MRI detected significantly more invasive cancers (17 women; 11.8 per 1000 women) than DBT (7 women; 4.8 per 1000 women). No invasive cancer was identified by DBT alone or as interval cancer during follow-up.

Meaning  Among women with dense breasts undergoing screening, abbreviated breast MRI was associated with a significantly higher rate of invasive cancer detection than DBT.

Abstract

Importance  Improved screening methods for women with dense breasts are needed because of their increased risk of breast cancer and of failed early diagnosis by screening mammography.

Objective  To compare the screening performance of abbreviated breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) in women with dense breasts.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Cross-sectional study with longitudinal follow-up at 48 academic, community hospital, and private practice sites in the United States and Germany, conducted between December 2016 and November 2017 among average-risk women aged 40 to 75 years with heterogeneously dense or extremely dense breasts undergoing routine screening. Follow-up ascertainment of cancer diagnoses was complete through September 12, 2019.

Exposures  All women underwent screening by both DBT and abbreviated breast MRI, performed in randomized order and read independently to avoid interpretation bias.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary end point was the invasive cancer detection rate. Secondary outcomes included sensitivity, specificity, additional imaging recommendation rate, and positive predictive value (PPV) of biopsy, using invasive cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) to define a positive reference standard. All outcomes are reported at the participant level. Pathology of core or surgical biopsy was the reference standard for cancer detection rate and PPV; interval cancers reported until the next annual screen were included in the reference standard for sensitivity and specificity.

Results  Among 1516 enrolled women, 1444 (median age, 54 [range, 40-75] years) completed both examinations and were included in the analysis. The reference standard was positive for invasive cancer with or without DCIS in 17 women and for DCIS alone in another 6. No interval cancers were observed during follow-up. Abbreviated breast MRI detected all 17 women with invasive cancer and 5 of 6 women with DCIS. Digital breast tomosynthesis detected 7 of 17 women with invasive cancer and 2 of 6 women with DCIS. The invasive cancer detection rate was 11.8 (95% CI, 7.4-18.8) per 1000 women for abbreviated breast MRI vs 4.8 (95% CI, 2.4-10.0) per 1000 women for DBT, a difference of 7 (95% CI, 2.2-11.6) per 1000 women (exact McNemar P = .002). For detection of invasive cancer and DCIS, sensitivity was 95.7% (95% CI, 79.0%-99.2%) with abbreviated breast MRI vs 39.1% (95% CI, 22.2%-59.2%) with DBT (P = .001) and specificity was 86.7% (95% CI, 84.8%-88.4%) vs 97.4% (95% CI, 96.5%-98.1%), respectively (P < .001). The additional imaging recommendation rate was 7.5% (95% CI, 6.2%-9.0%) with abbreviated breast MRI vs 10.1% (95% CI, 8.7%-11.8%) with DBT (P = .02) and the PPV was 19.6% (95% CI, 13.2%-28.2%) vs 31.0% (95% CI, 17.0%-49.7%), respectively (P = .15).

Conclusions and Relevance  Among women with dense breasts undergoing screening, abbreviated breast MRI, compared with DBT, was associated with a significantly higher rate of invasive breast cancer detection. Further research is needed to better understand the relationship between screening methods and clinical outcome.

Trial Registration  ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02933489

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