Prioritizing Screening Mammograms for Immediate Interpretation and Diagnostic Evaluation on the Basis of Risk for Recall

J Am Coll Radiol. 2023 Mar;20(3):299-310. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2022.09.030. Epub 2022 Oct 20.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to develop a prioritization strategy for scheduling immediate screening mammographic interpretation and possible diagnostic evaluation.

Methods: A population-based cohort with screening mammograms performed from 2012 to 2020 at 126 radiology facilities from 7 Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium registries was identified. Classification trees identified combinations of clinical history (age, BI-RADS® density, time since prior mammogram, history of false-positive recall or biopsy result), screening modality (digital mammography, digital breast tomosynthesis), and facility characteristics (profit status, location, screening volume, practice type, academic affiliation) that grouped screening mammograms by recall rate, with ≥12/100 considered high and ≥16/100 very high. An efficiency ratio was estimated as the percentage of recalls divided by the percentage of mammograms.

Results: The study cohort included 2,674,051 screening mammograms in 925,777 women, with 235,569 recalls. The most important predictor of recall was time since prior mammogram, followed by age, history of false-positive recall, breast density, history of benign biopsy, and screening modality. Recall rates were very high for baseline mammograms (21.3/100; 95% confidence interval, 19.7-23.0) and high for women with ≥5 years since prior mammogram (15.1/100; 95% confidence interval, 14.3-16.1). The 9.2% of mammograms in subgroups with very high and high recall rates accounted for 19.2% of recalls, an efficiency ratio of 2.1 compared with a random approach. Adding women <50 years of age with dense breasts accounted for 20.3% of mammograms and 33.9% of recalls (efficiency ratio = 1.7). Results including facility-level characteristics were similar.

Conclusions: Prioritizing women with baseline mammograms or ≥5 years since prior mammogram for immediate interpretation and possible diagnostic evaluation could considerably reduce the number of women needing to return for diagnostic imaging at another visit.

Keywords: Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium; Screening mammography; immediate interpretation; recall rate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Breast Density
  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography / methods
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Radiology*