Breast Cancer

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 32–41

Breast cancer screening with digital breast tomosynthesis

Special Feature Possible supplemental breast cancer screening modalities

DOI: 10.1007/s12282-016-0699-y

Cite this article as:
Skaane, P. Breast Cancer (2017) 24: 32. doi:10.1007/s12282-016-0699-y



To give an overview of studies comparing full-field digital mammography (FFDM) and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) in breast cancer screening.

Materials and methods

The implementation of tomosynthesis in breast imaging is rapidly increasing world-wide. Experimental clinical studies of relevance for DBT screening have shown that tomosynthesis might have a great potential in breast cancer screening, although most of these retrospective reading studies are based on small populations, so that final conclusions are difficult to draw from individual reports. Several retrospective studies and three prospective trials on tomosynthesis in breast cancer screening have been published so far, confirming the great potential of DBT in mammography screening. The main results of these screening studies are presented.


The retrospective screening studies from USA have all shown a significant decrease in the recall rate using DBT as adjunct to mammography. Most of these studies have also shown an increase in the cancer detection rate, and the non-significant results in some studies might be explained by a lack of statistical power. All the three prospective European trials have shown a significant increase in the cancer detection rate.


The retrospective and the prospective screening studies comparing FFDM and DBT have all demonstrated that tomosynthesis has a great potential for improving breast cancer screening. DBT should be regarded as a better mammogram that could improve or overcome limitations of the conventional mammography, and tomosynthesis might be considered as the new technique in the next future of breast cancer screening.


Breast cancer screening Digital breast tomosynthesis Full-field digital mammography Mammography screening 

Copyright information

© The Japanese Breast Cancer Society 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Breast Imaging Center, Oslo University Hospital UllevaalUniversity of OsloOsloNorway