Publication Abstract

Authors: Hofvind S, Geller B, Skaane P

Title: Mammographic features and histopathological findings of interval breast cancers.

Journal: Acta Radiol 49(9):975-81

Date: 2008 Nov

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Interval cancers are considered a shortcoming in screening mammography due to less favorable prognostic tumor characteristics compared to screening-detected cancers and consequently a lower chance of survival from the disease. PURPOSE: To describe the mammographic features and prognostic histopathological tumor characteristics of interval breast cancers. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A total of 231 interval breast cancer cases diagnosed in prevalently screened women aged 50-69 years old were examined. Thirty-five percent of the cases were retrospectively classified as missed cancers, 23% as minimal sign, and 42% as true negative (including occult cancers) in a definitive classification performed by six experienced breast radiologists. The retrospective classification described the mammographic features of the baseline screening mammograms in missed and minimal-sign interval cancers, while histopathological reports were used to describe the tumor characteristics in all the subgroups of interval cancers. RESULTS: Fifty percent of the missed and minimal-sign interval cancers combined presented poorly defined mass or asymmetric density, and 26% calcifications with or without associated density or mass at baseline screening. Twenty-seven percent of invasive tumors were <15 mm for missed and 47% for true interval cancers (P<0.001). Lymph node involvement was more common in missed (49%) compared with the true cases (33%, P<0.05). CONCLUSION: Missed interval cancers have less prognostically favorable histopathological tumor characteristics compared with true interval cancers. Improving the radiologist's perception and interpretation by establishing systematic collection of features and implementation of organized reviews may decrease the number of interval cancers in a screening program.