Study Will Compare Mammography Screening Methods

Trials on 2-D and 3-D mammography methods will take place and to help decide the best way to screen for breast cancer.


Which method is better for breast cancer screening: 3-D mammography or 2-D mammography? Researchers from the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group and the National Cancer Institute are hoping to find out, with the Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (TMIST).

It has been decades since the last large-scale randomized trial of mammography, points out Worta McCaskill-Stevens, MD, director of the NCI Community Oncology Research Program. In the meantime, mammography technology has evolved, from “conventional” 2-D mammography to tomosynthesis, also known as 3-D mammography.

However, although 3-D mammography is more likely to detect more findings that require follow-up, it is also likely to lead to more procedures and treatments. “If a newer screening technology does not reduce the numbers of advanced, life-threatening cancers, then are we really improving screening for breast cancer?” said Etta Pisano, MD, ECOG-ACRIN study chair.

Researchers plan to enroll 165,000 participants aged between 45 and 74 years who already are scheduled for routine mammograms. They will follow all participants for breast cancer status, treatment, and outcomes until at least 2025. About 100 mammography clinics are expected to take part.

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