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Do 3-D mammograms improve screening?

Oct 15, 2014

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First large clinical trial compares 3-D mammography to current standard

Sunnybrook researchers open the first Canadian clinical trial as part of the launch of T-MIST (Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial), the first, large randomized, multi-centre, multi-system study of digital tomosynthesis (3-D breast mammography) compared to the current standard of digital mammography, for breast cancer screening.

“Our hope is that digital tomosynthesis will take us further, to result in fewer false alarms, potentially a 30 to 40% reduction, to lessen anxiety for patients, and to find up to one-third more of the small, invasive cancers that would be missed with current mammography, and that really need to be treated,” says Dr. Roberta Jong, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre breast-dedicated radiologist, and study co-investigator of the first Canadian clinical trial with Dr. Martin Yaffe, a senior scientist, and an expert in Breast Imaging (Physical Sciences) in the Odette Cancer Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute.

Digital tomosynthesis uses the strengths of digital mammography, but instead of taking two X-ray views, tomosynthesis quickly takes up to 15 low-dose images of the breast that are layered into a three-dimensional view. Because information is not superimposed on only two images, tomosynthesis has the potential to create less ambiguous shadows and help avoid missing cancers that may be hidden in surrounding dense breast tissue.

“Smaller studies or studies using only one type of digital tomosynthesis system have shown encouraging results, but to definitively test the technology, we need to conduct research with larger populations, with a randomized method, in varied health care settings — community hospitals and specialized cancer centres — and with multiple tomosynthesis systems,” says Dr. Martin Yaffe, also a professor in the Departments of Radiology and Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto.

Sunnybrook researchers are conducting the trial in one of the two sites located in Canada, and are recruiting 2,000 women over 18 months with follow up over a two-year period. The trial is open to women ages 40 years and over who have no past personal history of breast cancer. For more information, potential participants can contact anoma.gunasekara@sunnybrook.ca

The clinical trial at Sunnybrook is generously funded by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Dr. Martin Yaffe

Full media release

DO 3-D MAMMOGRAMS IMPROVE BREAST CANCER SCREENING?

Toronto (Wednesday October 15, 2014) – Sunnybrook researchers open the first Canadian clinical trial as part of the launch of T-MIST (Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial), the first, large randomized, multi-centre, multi-system study of digital tomosynthesis (3-D breast mammography) compared to the current standard of digital mammography, for breast cancer screening.

“Our hope is that digital tomosynthesis will take us further, to result in fewer false alarms, potentially a 30 to 40% reduction, to lessen anxiety for patients, and to find up to one-third more of the small, invasive cancers that would be missed with current mammography, and that really need to be treated,” says Dr. Roberta Jong, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre breast-dedicated radiologist, and study co-investigator of the first Canadian clinical trial with Dr. Martin Yaffe, a senior scientist, and an expert in Breast Imaging (Physical Sciences) in the Odette Cancer Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute.

Digital tomosynthesis uses the strengths of digital mammography, but instead of taking two X-ray views, tomosynthesis quickly takes up to 15 low-dose images of the breast that are layered into a three-dimensional view. Because information is not superimposed on only two images, tomosynthesis has the potential to create less ambiguous shadows and help avoid missing cancers that may be hidden in surrounding dense breast tissue.

“Smaller studies or studies using only one type of digital tomosynthesis system have shown encouraging results, but to definitively test the technology, we need to conduct research with larger populations, with a randomized method, in varied health care settings — community hospitals and specialized cancer centres — and with multiple tomosynthesis systems,” says Dr. Martin Yaffe, also a professor in the Departments of Radiology and Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto.

Sunnybrook researchers are conducting the trial in one of the two sites located in Canada, and are recruiting 2,000 women over 18 months with follow up over a two-year period. The trial is open to women ages 40 years and over who have no past personal history of breast cancer. For more information, potential participants can contact anoma.gunasekara@sunnybrook.ca.

The Canadian clinical trials are being done in collaboration with Dr. Etta Pisano, former dean of medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. Drs. Jong and Yaffe were also site co-investigators with Dr. Pisano, on the landmark D-MIST (Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial) that reported similar diagnostic accuracy of film and digital mammography but with significantly higher accuracy of digital mammography among women under age 50 years and women with dense breasts.

The overall randomized trial will be conducted in approximately 14 more sites across North America and will involve 60,000 women.

The clinical trial at Sunnybrook is generously funded by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

For more information, please contact:

Natalie Chung-Sayers, 416.480-4040, natalie.chung-sayers@sunnybrook.ca

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