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Radiology. 2014 Jul;272(1):52-62. doi: 10.1148/radiol.14131502. Epub 2014 Apr 1.

Mammographic performance in a population-based screening program: before, during, and after the transition from screen-film to full-field digital mammography.

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From the Department of Research, Cancer Registry of Norway, PO Box 5313, 0304 Oslo, Norway (S.H., S.S.); Faculty of Health Science, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Oslo, Norway (S.H.); Department of Radiology, Oslo University Hospital, University of Oslo, Norway (P.S.); Departments of Medicine (J.G.E.) and Radiology (C.I.L.), School of Medicine, and Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health (J.G.E.), University of Washington, Seattle, Wash; and Department of Radiology, Aalesund Hospital, Møre og Romsdal, Norway (S.R.H.).



To compare performance measures before, during, and after the transition from screen-film mammography (SFM) to full-field digital mammography (FFDM) in a population-based screening program.


No institutional review board approval was required for this analysis involving anonymized data for women aged 50-69 years enrolled in the Norwegian Breast Cancer Screening Program during 1996-2010. The χ(2) test was used to examine the equality of proportions of recall rates, positive predictive value of recall examinations and of invasive procedures, in addition to rates of screening-detected and interval cancers in women initially screened with SFM and FFDM and for women subsequently screened with SFM after SFM, FFDM after SFM, and FFDM after FFDM.


The recall rate was 3.4% (47 091 of 1 391 188) for SFM and 2.9% (13 130 of 446 172) for FFDM (P < .001). The biopsy rate was 1.4% (19 776 of 1 391 188) for SFM and 1.1% (5108 of 446 172) for FFDM (P < .001). The rate of screening-detected ductal carcinoma in situ was higher (P = .019) while the rate of invasive breast cancer was lower (P < .001) for FFDM compared with those for SFM. The rate of both invasive screening-detected and interval breast cancer remained stable during the transition from SFM to FFDM (when the previous examination was SFM) and after FFDM was firmly established (when the previous examination was FFDM, >25 months after FFDM adoption) (P < .05). The positive predictive value of recall examinations and of invasive procedures increased from 19.3% (4559 of 23 598) and 48.3% (4651 of 9623) to 22.7% (681 of 2995) and 57.5% (689 of 1198), respectively, after adoption of FFDM (P < .001).


After the initial transitional phase from SFM to FFDM, population-based screening with FFDM is associated with less harm because of lower recall and biopsy rates and higher positive predictive values after biopsy than screening with SFM.

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