Outcomes by Race in Breast Cancer Screening With Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Versus Digital Mammography

J Am Coll Radiol. 2021 Jul;18(7):906-918. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2020.12.033. Epub 2021 Feb 17.


Purpose: Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) in conjunction with digital mammography (DM) is becoming the preferred imaging modality for breast cancer screening compared with DM alone, on the basis of improved recall rates (RR) and cancer detection rates (CDRs). The aim of this study was to investigate racial differences in the utilization and performance of screening modality.

Methods: Retrospective data from 63 US breast imaging facilities from 2015 to 2019 were reviewed. Screening outcomes were linked to cancer registries. RR, CDR per 1,000 examinations, and positive predictive value for recall (cancers/recalled patients) were compared.

Results: A total of 385,503 women contributed 542,945 DBT and 261,359 DM screens. A lower proportion of screenings for Black women were performed using DBT plus DM (referred to as DBT) (44% for Black, 48% for other, 63% for Asian, and 61% for White). Non-White women were less likely to undergo more than one mammographic examination. RRs were lower for DBT among all women (8.74 versus 10.06, P < .05) and lower across all races and within age categories. RRs were significantly higher for women with only one mammogram. CDRs were similar or higher in women undergoing DBT compared with DM, overall (4.73 versus 4.60, adjusted P = .0005) and by age and race. Positive predictive value for recall was greater for DBT overall (5.29 versus 4.45, adjusted P < .0001) and by age, race, and screening frequency.

Conclusions: All racial groups had improved outcomes with DBT screening, but disparities were observed in DBT utilization. These data suggest that reducing inequities in DBT utilization may improve the effectiveness of breast cancer screening.

Keywords: Breast cancer screening; digital breast tomosynthesis; racial disparities.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography
  • Mass Screening
  • Retrospective Studies