U.S. Radiologists in Community Practice Demonstrate Better Performance Interpreting Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Than Digital Mammography Screening Exams

New BCSC study reports on national performance benchmarks for routine screening with digital breast tomosynthesis

Posted by Christoph Lee at 10:30 AM on Apr 17, 2023


After gaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2011, digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) was rapidly adopted in the U.S. and is now the most popular breast cancer screening exam. In a study published in Radiology, the BCSC aimed to establish new screening performance benchmarks for DBT and evaluate performance trends over time in U.S. community practices. The research team collected data on screening exams from five regional BCSC registries between 2011 and 2018. A total of 896,101 women undergoing 2,301,766 screening exams—458,175 DBT and 1,843,591 2D digital mammography—were included in the study. Compared to BCSC digital mammography screening exams from the same time period and previously published BCSC and National Mammography Database performance benchmarks, nearly all performance measures including abnormal interpretation rate, cancer detection rate, and specificity, were better for DBT than digital mammography. With DBT, 97.6%, 91.8%, 75.0%, and 74.0% of radiologists achieved the recommended acceptable performance ranges for cancer detection rate, sensitivity, abnormal interpretation rate and specificity, respectively. These updated screening performance metrics provide new benchmarks that can be used broadly by radiology practices in quality improvement efforts in the modern era of DBT screening.


Lee CI, Abraham LA, Miglioretti DL, Onega T, Kerlikowske K, Lee JM, Sprague BL, Tosteson ANA, Rauscher G, Bowles EJA, diFlorio-Alexander RM, Henderson LM, for the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. National Performance Benchmarks for Screening Digital Breast Tomosynthesis: Update from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. Radiology 2023; in press. doi: 10.1148/radiol.222499. [Link].


Find the editorial in Radiology about the paper here


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Posted by: Christoph Lee