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Data from 1 million patients confirms digital breast tomosynthesis beats 2D mammo

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | March 21, 2023
Women's Health
DBT uncovers breast cancer and lowers recall rates more than 2D digital mammo, according to a new study. (Photo courtesy of the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania)
In a retrospective study with data from over 1 million patients, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania confirmed prior studies indicating digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT, or 3D mammography) is a superior tool for detecting breast cancer compared to conventional 2D mammography — particularly for women with dense breast tissue.

“The study emphasizes that digital breast tomosynthesis should [become] and is becoming the new standard of care in mammographic screening,” study co-author Dr. Emily Conant, FSBI, professor of radiology and chief in the division of breast imaging at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, told HCB News.

Conant and her colleagues used data from five large U.S. healthcare systems for their study. Women between 40 and 79 were screened with either DBT or 2D digital mammography between January 2014 and December 2020. As most women had at least two screenings, the study had over 2 million exams.
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DBT detected cancer at a rate of 5.3 per 1,000 screened, compared to 4.5 per 1,000 with 2D. It also had a lower rate of false positives and screening recalls.

“The strength of the study was in the large number of screenings (~2.5 million), women (~1.1 million), and the richness of the patient-level data,” she said.

The findings were published in Radiology, a journal of the Radiological Society of North America.

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