Ultrasound as the primary screening test for breast cancer: Analysis from acrin 6666.

Wendie A. Berg*, Andriy I. Bandos, Ellen B. Mendelson, Daniel Lehrer, Roberta A. Jong, Etta D. Pisano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Background: Mammography is not widely available in all countries, and breast cancer incidence is increasing. We considered performance characteristics using ultrasound (US) instead of mammography to screen for breast cancer. Methods: Two thousand eight hundred nine participants were enrolled at 20 sites in the United States, Canada, and Argentina in American College of Radiology Imaging 6666. Two thousand six hundred sixty-two participants completed three annual screens (7473 examinations) with US and film-screen (n = 4351) or digital (n = 3122) mammography and had biopsy or 12-month follow-up. Cancer detection, recall, and positive predictive values were determined. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results: One hundred ten women had 111 breast cancer events: 89 (80.2%) invasive cancers, median size 12 mm. The number of US screens to detect one cancer was 129 (95% bootstrap confidence interval [CI] = 110 to 156), and for mammography 127 (95% CI = 109 to 152). Cancer detection was comparable for each of US and mammography at 58 of 111 (52.3%) vs 59 of 111 (53.2%, P = .90), with US-detected cancers more likely invasive (53/58, 91.4%, median size 12 mm, range = 2-40 mm), vs mammography at 41 of 59 (69.5%, median size 13 mm, range = 1-55 mm, P < .001). Invasive cancers detected by US were more frequently node-negative, 34 of 53 (64.2%) vs 18 of 41 (43.9%) by mammography (P = .003). For 4814 incidence screens (years 2 and 3), US had higher recall and biopsy rates and lower PPV of biopsy (PPV3) than mammography: The recall rate was 10.7% (n = 515) vs 9.4% (n = 453, P = .03), the biopsy rate was 5.5% (n = 266) vs 2.0% (n = 97, P < .001), and PPV3 was 11.7% (31/266) vs 38.1% (37/97, P < .001). Conclusions: Cancer detection rate with US is comparable with mammography, with a greater proportion of invasive and node-negative cancers among US detections. False positives are more common with US screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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