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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Apr;132(3):871-9. doi: 10.1007/s10549-011-1670-4. Epub 2011 Jul 28.

Locally advanced breast cancers are more likely to present as Interval Cancers: results from the I-SPY 1 TRIAL (CALGB 150007/150012, ACRIN 6657, InterSPORE Trial).

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  • 1Carol Franc Buck Breast Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, 1600 Divisadero Street, 2nd Floor, Box 1710, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.


Interval cancers (ICs), defined as cancers detected between regular screening mammograms, have been shown to be of higher grade, larger size, and associated with lower survival, compared with screen-detected cancers (SDCs) and comprise 17% of cancers from population-based screening programs. We sought to determine the frequency of ICs in a study of locally advanced breast cancers, the I-SPY 1 TRIAL. Screening was defined as having a mammogram with 2 years, and the proportion of ICs at 1 and 2 years was calculated for screened patients. Differences in clinical characteristics for ICs versus SDCs and screened versus non-screened cancers were assessed. For the 219 evaluable women, mean tumor size was 6.8 cm. Overall, 80% of women were over 40 and eligible for screening; however, only 31% were getting screened. Among women screened, 85% were ICs, with 68% diagnosed within 1 year of a previously normal mammogram. ICs were of higher grade (49% vs. 10%) than SDCs. Among non-screened women, 28% (43/152) were younger than the recommended screening age of 40. Of the entire cohort, 12% of cancers were mammographically occult (MO); the frequency of MO cancers did not differ between screened (11%) and non-screened (15%). ICs were common in the I-SPY 1 TRIAL suggesting the potential need for new approaches beyond traditional screening to reduce mortality in women who present with larger palpable cancers.

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