Attualità in Senologia

Rassegna della letteratura: Luglio – settembre 2019
Epidemiologia, prevenzione, diagnosi e screening

Bucchi L, Ravaioli A, Baldacchini F, et Al – Annual mammography at age 45-49 years and biennial mammography at age 50-69 years: comparing performance measures in an organised screening setting. – Eur Radiol, 2019 Mar 18. doi: 10.1007/s00330-019-06050

Background: To compare the results of 5 years of annual mammography screening at age 45-49 with the results of 5 years of biennial screening at age 50-54 and 55-69.

Methods: In an Italian screening programme, data from 1,465,335 mammograms were analysed. Recall rates, invasive assessment rates, surgical biopsy (including excisional biopsy and definitive surgical treatment) rates, and cancer detection rates were calculated for the first screen (first) and, cumulatively, for the second and subsequent screens (second+).

Results: The rate ratios between younger women and the two groups of older ones were (in parentheses, original figures per 1000 mammograms if not otherwise specified): recall rate: first 1.11 (103.6 vs. 93.5) and 1.11 (vs. 93.2), second+ 2.10 (208.9 vs. 99.7) and 2.77 (vs. 75.5); invasive assessment rate: first 0.94 (23.0 vs. 24.5) and 0.94 (vs. 24.6), second+ 1.63 (35.8 vs. 22.0) and 1.56 (vs. 23.0); surgical biopsy rate: first 0.68 (5.9 vs. 8.6) and 0.45 (vs. 13.2), second+ 1.35 (11.5 vs. 8.5) and 0.88 (vs. 13.0); total detection rate: first 0.63 (4.3 vs. 6.7) and 0.37 (vs. 11.7), second+ 1.30 (8.9 vs. 6.8) and 0.74 (vs. 12.0); total positive predictive value of surgical biopsy: first 0.93 (72.8% vs. 78.0%) and 0.82 (vs. 88.9%), second+ 0.96 (77.2% vs. 80.5%) and 0.83 (vs. 92.7%).

Conclusion: Younger women experienced two to threefold higher cumulative recall rates at second+ screens and limited differences in surgical biopsy rate. Albeit encouraging, these results must be completed with further investigation, especially on interval cancer incidence.


Gastounioti A, McCarthy AM, Pantalone L et Al – Effect of Mammographic Screening Modality on Breast Density Assessment: Digital Mammography versus Digital Breast Tomosynthesis. – Radiology. 2019 Mar 19:181740. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2019181740.

Background Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) breast density categories assigned by interpreting radiologists often influence decisions surrounding supplemental breast cancer screening and risk assessment. The landscape of mammographic screening continuously evolves, and different mammographic screening modalities may result in different perception of density, reflected in different assignment of BI-RADS density categories. Purpose To investigate the effect of screening mammography modality on BI-RADS breast density assessments. Materials and Methods Data were retrospectively analyzed from 24 736 individual women (42.3% [10 455 of 24 736] white women, 57.7% [14 281 of 24 736] black women; mean age, 56.3 years; age range, 40.0-74.9 years) who underwent from one to seven mammographic screening examinations from September 2010 through February 2017 (60 766 examinations). Three screening modalities were used: digital mammography alone (8935 examinations); digital mammography with digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT; 30 779 examinations); and synthetic mammography with DBT (21 052 examinations). Random-effects logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate the likelihood of assignment to high versus low BI-RADS density category according to each modality, adjusted for ethnicity, age, body mass index (BMI), and radiologist. The interactions of modality with ethnicity and BMI on density categorization were also tested with the model. Results Women screened with DBT versus digital mammography alone had lower likelihood regarding categorization of high density breasts (digital mammography and DBT vs digital mammography: odds ratio, 0.69 [95% confidence interval: 0.61, 0.80], P < .001; synthetic mammography and DBT vs digital mammography: odds ratio, 0.43 [95% confidence interval: 0.37, 0.50], P < .001). Lower likelihood of high density was also observed at synthetic mammography and DBT compared with digital mammography and DBT (odds ratio, 0.62; 95% confidence interval: 0.56, 0.69; P < .001). There were interactions of modality with ethnicity (P = .007) and BMI (P = .003) on breast density assessment, with greater differences in density categorization according to modality observed for black women than for white women and groups with higher BMI. Conclusion Breast density categorization may vary by screening mammographic modality, and this effect appears to vary by ethnicity and body mass index. © RSNA, 2019 Online supplemental material is available for this article. See also the editorial by Philpotts in this issue


Busch SH, Hoag JR, Aminawung JA et Al. – Association of State Dense Breast Notification Laws With Supplemental Testing and Cancer Detection After Screening Mammography. – Am J Public Health. 2019 Mar 21:e1-e6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.304967.

Background: To evaluate the association of state dense breast notification (DBN) laws with use of supplemental tests and cancer diagnosis after screening mammography.

Methods: We examined screening mammograms (n = 1 441 544) performed in 2014 and 2015 among privately insured women aged 40 to 59 years living in 9 US states that enacted DBN laws in 2014 to 2015 and 25 US states with no DBN law in effect. DBN status at screening mammography was categorized as no DBN, generic DBN, and DBN that mandates notification of possible benefits of supplemental screening (DBN+SS). We used logistic regression to examine the change in rate of supplemental ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, breast biopsy, and breast cancer detection.

Results: DBN+SS laws were associated with 10.5 more ultrasounds per 1000 mammograms (95% CI = 3.0, 17.6 per 1000; P = .006) and 0.37 more breast cancers detected per 1000 mammograms (95% CI = 0.05, 0.69 per 1000; P = .02) compared with no DBN law. No significant differences were found for generic DBN laws in either ultrasound or cancer detection.

Conclusion: DBN legislation is associated with increased use of ultrasound and cancer detection after implementation only when notification of the possible benefits of supplemental screening is required. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print March 21, 2019: e1-e6. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2019.304967).


Jousi MO, Erkkilä J, Varjonen M et Al – A new breast tomosynthesis imaging method: Continuous Sync-and-Shoot – technical feasibility and initial experience. – Acta Radiol Open. 2019 Mar 15;8(3):2058460119836255

Background: Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is gaining popularity in breast imaging. There are several different technical approaches for conducting DBT imaging.

Methods: To determine optimal imaging parameters, test patient friendliness, evaluate the initial diagnostic performance, and describe diagnostic advances possible with the new Continuous Sync-and-Shoot method. Thirty-six surgical breast specimens were imaged with digital mammography (DM) and a prototype of a DBT system (Planmed Oy, Helsinki, Finland). We tested the patient friendliness of the sync-and-shoot movement without radiation exposure in eight volunteers. Different imaging parameters were tested with 20 specimens to identify the optimal combination: angular range 30°, 40°, and 60°; pixel binning; Rhodium (Rh) and Silver (Ag) filtrations; and different kV and mAs values. Two breast radiologists evaluated 16 DM and DBT image pairs and rated six different image properties. Imaging modalities were compared with paired t-test

Results: The Continuous Sync-and-Shoot method produced diagnostically valid images. Five out of eight volunteers felt no/minimal discomfort, three experienced mild discomfort from the tilting movement of the detector, with the motion being barely recognized. The combination of 30°, Ag filtering, and 2 × 2 pixel binning produced the best image quality at an acceptable dose level. DBT was significantly better in all six evaluated properties (P < 0.05). Mean DoseDBT/DoseDM ratio was 1.22 (SD = 0.42).

Conclusion: The evaluated imaging method is feasible for imaging and analysing surgical breast specimens and DBT is significantly better than DM in image evaluation.


Niu L, Bao L, Zhu L et Al. – Diagnostic Performance of Automated Breast Ultrasound in Differentiating Benign and Malignant Breast Masses in Asymptomatic Women: A Comparison Study With Handheld Ultrasound. – J Ultrasound Med. 2019 Mar 25. doi: 10.1002/jum.14991

Background: Our aim was to investigate the diagnostic potential of an automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) system in differentiating benign and malignant breast masses compared with handheld ultrasound (HHUS).

Methods: Women were randomly and proportionally selected from outpatients and underwent both HHUS and ABUS examinations. Masses with final American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System categories 2 and 3 were considered benign. Masses with final Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System categories 4 and 5 were considered malignant. The diagnosis was confirmed by pathologic results or at least a 1-year follow-up. Automated breast US and HHUS were compared on the basis of their sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy. Diagnostic consistency and areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves were analyzed. The maximum diameters of masses were compared among HHUS, ABUS, and pathologic results.

Results: A total of 599 masses in 398 women were confirmed by pathologic results or at least a 1-year follow-up; 103 of 599 masses were malignant, and 496 were benign. There were no significant differences between ABUS and HHUS in terms of diagnostic accuracy (80.1% versus 80.6%), specificity (77.62% versus 80.24%), positive predictive value (46.12% versus 46.46%), and negative predictive value (97.96% versus 95.67%). There were significant differences in sensitivity (92.23% versus 82.52%; P < .01) and areas under the curve (0.85 versus 0.81; P < .05) between ABUS and HHUS. The correlation of the maximum diameter was slightly higher between ABUS and pathologic results (r = 0.885) than between HHUS and pathologic results (r = 0.855), but the difference was not significant (P > .05).

Conclusion: Automated breast US is better than HHUS in differentiating benign and malignant breast masses, especially with respect to specificity

Lin X, An X, Xiang H et Al. -Ultrasound Imaging for Detecting Metastasis to Level II and III Axillary Lymph Nodes after Axillary Lymph Node Dissection for Invasive Breast Cancer. – J Ultrasound Med. 2019 Mar 25. doi: 10.1002/jum.14998.

Background: The diagnostic value of axillary ultrasound (US) for level II and III axillary lymph node metastasis after axillary lymph node dissection for invasive breast cancer is currently not clear. The objectives of this study were to retrospectively analyze the diagnostic value of axillar US for level II and III axillary lymph node metastasis and compare it with palpation and to analyze the US features of level II and III axillary lymph nodes that are predictive of metastatic recurrence during follow-up.

Methods: Cases with level II or III axillary lymph nodes detected by US between January 2005 and December 2017 at a cancer center were divided into 2 groups according to a retrospective analysis of US findings: potential malignancy group and follow-up group. Biopsy was performed in all patients in the potential malignancy group. In the follow-up group, the patients were followed for at least 2 years, and biopsy was performed if suspicious US features were detected.

Results: The 401 enrolled cases were followed by axillary US and physical examination (PE) for comparison. Finally, 55 axillary metastases were pathologically confirmed (14%). The sensitivity, specificity, and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for axillary US were 92.7%, 93.9%, and 0.933, respectively, and the corresponding values for PE were 49.1%, 91.3%, and 0.702 (P < .001). An increase in the major or minor axis diameter of the lymph nodes of greater than 2 mm, a Solbiati index value of less than 1.5, and the presence of new suspicious lesions in other regions were significant predictors of lymph node metastasis based on the US findings (P = .013, .006, .015, and .036).

Conclusion: Axillary is helpful in the follow-up of level II and III axillary lymph nodes after axillary lymph node dissection for invasive breast cancer and can detect cancer recurrence earlier than PE.