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Performance of breast cancer screening using digital breast tomosynthesis: results from the prospective population-based Oslo Tomosynthesis Screening Trial

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Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) has the potential to overcome limitations of conventional mammography. This study investigated the effects of addition of DBT on interval and detected cancers in population-based screening.


Oslo Tomosynthesis Screening Trial (OTST) was a prospective, independent double-reading trial inviting women 50–69 years biennially, comparing full-field digital mammography (FFDM) plus DBT with FFDM alone. Performance indicators and characteristics of screen-detected and interval cancers were compared with two previous FFDM rounds.


24,301 consenting women underwent FFDM + DBT screening over a 2-year period. Results were compared with 59,877 FFDM examinations during prior rounds. Addition of DBT resulted in a non-significant increase in sensitivity (76.2%, 378/496, vs. 80.8%, 227/281, p = 0.151) and a significant increase in specificity (96.4%, 57229/59381 vs. 97.5%, 23427/24020, p < .001). Number of recalls per screen-detected cancer decreased from 6.7 (2530/378) to 3.6 (820/227) with DBT (p < .001). Cancer detection per 1000 women screened increased (6.3, 378/59877, vs. 9.3, 227/24301, p < .001). Interval cancer rate per 1000 screens for FFDM + DBT remained similar to previous FFDM rounds (2.1, 51/24301 vs. 2.0, 118/59877, p = 0.734). Interval cancers post-DBT were comparable to prior rounds but significantly different in size, grade, and node status from cancers detected only using DBT. 39.6% (19/48) of interval cancers had positive nodes compared with only 3.9% (2/51) of additional DBT-only-detected cancers.


DBT-supplemented screening resulted in significant increases in screen-detected cancers and specificity. However, no significant change was observed in the rate, size, node status, or grade of interval cancers. NCT01248546.

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The study has used data from the Cancer Registry of Norway. The interpretation and reporting of the data are the sole responsibility of the authors, and no endorsement by the Cancer Registry of Norway is intended or should be inferred.

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Correspondence to Per Skaane.

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Per Skaane received equipment and funding for additional case interpretations from Hologic, Inc. No conflict of interest for Sofie Sebuødegård, Andriy I. Bandos, David Gur, Bjørn Helge Østerås, Randi Gullien, and Solveig Hofvind.

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Skaane, P., Sebuødegård, S., Bandos, A.I. et al. Performance of breast cancer screening using digital breast tomosynthesis: results from the prospective population-based Oslo Tomosynthesis Screening Trial. Breast Cancer Res Treat 169, 489–496 (2018).

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