Ultrasound may have a better incremental breast cancer detection rate than tomosynthesis in mammography-negative dense breasts at a similar false-positive recall rate, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

However, tomosynthesis may detect additional breast cancers and could potentially be the primary screening modality.

Researchers led by Alberto Tagliafico, MD, of the University of Genoa in Italy looked at 3231 mammography-negative screening participants with dense breasts as part of the Adjunct Screening With Tomosynthesis or Ultrasound in Women With Mammography-Negative Dense Breasts prospective, multicenter study.

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Women who underwent tomosynthesis and physician-performed ultrasound with independent interpretation of adjunct imaging were eligible, with outcome measures including cancer detection rate, number of false-positive recalls, and incremental cancer detection rate for each modality.

The researchers found 13 tomosynthesis-detected breast cancers compared to 23 detected with ultrasound. Incremental false-positive recall occurred in 107 participants, and false-positive recall did not differ between tomosynthesis and ultrasound.

False-positive recall with any type of testing did not differ between tomosynthesis and ultrasound.


1. Tagliafico AS, Calabrese M, Mariscotti G, et al. Adjunct screening with tomosynthesis or ultrasound in women with mammography-negative dense breasts: interim report of a prospective comparative trial [published online ahead of print March 9, 2016]. J Clin Oncol. doi:10.1200/JCO.2015.63.4147.