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Translated title of the contribution: Imaging studies for the early detection of breast cancer

Sylvia H. Heywang-Köbrunner, Ingrid Schreer, Walter Heindel, Alexander Katalinic

17 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The effectiveness of mammographic screening has been proven at evidence level 1A. Mammography offers the best ratio of benefits to side effects of any screening method tested to date. In this literature review, we ask whether early detection might be improved still further by combining mammography with other imaging modalities. Methods: The authors performed a selective literature search for combined key words in the Medline and Cochrane Library databases from 1/2000 to 11/2007, screened all titles, and evaluated the full text of all original articles. We selected some articles for further analysis according to systematic criteria (minimum numbers, avoidance of overlap) and also considered published guidelines. Results: No sceening studies of comparable size to those for mammography are available for ultrasound or MRI. Smaller studies have indicated that the use of these two modalities might lead to the detection of additional cancers in selected population subgroups, with an increase in the detection rate by as much as 10 to 15%. This increase would probably be associated with a tripling of the breast biopsy rate, compared to mammography alone. The number of indeterminate cases in which short-term follow-up (i.e., at 6 months) would be recommended would increase roughy tenfold with MRI, and to an unknown extent with ultrasound. The related quality-assurance issues remain to be addressed. Discussion: Randomized, controlled studies are needed for a realistic assessment of the achievable benefits and unavoidable side effects of combined screening. For women whose risk of breast cancer is not elevated, mammography remains the standard screening method.

Translated title of the contributionImaging studies for the early detection of breast cancer
Original languageGerman
JournalDeutsches Arzteblatt
Issue number31-32
Pages (from-to)541-547
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 04.08.2008


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