Screening interval breast cancers: mammographic features and prognosis factors

Radiology. 1996 Jun;199(3):811-7. doi: 10.1148/radiology.199.3.8638010.


Purpose: To review the mammographic features of screening interval breast cancers and to compare the tumor size, histologic grade, and lymph node involvement with those in screening-detected and unscreened symptomatic cancers.

Materials and methods: Screening mammography was performed in 72,773 women aged 50-64 years. Ninety interval cancers were identified in 89 women. The mammographic and histopathologic features of these cancers were analyzed.

Results: At review of the screening mammograms, interval cancers were classified into four groups: 51 true-positive, 20 false-negative, seven mammographically occult, and 12 unclassified. The most common missed abnormality in the false-negative cases was architectural distortion. Interval cancers were larger, of higher grade, and more likely to have lymph node involvement than screening-detected tumors and were of similar size, histologic grade, and stage of lymph node involvement as symptomatic tumors.

Conclusion: Prognosis in interval cancers is similar to that in symptomatic, unscreened tumors and statistically significantly worse than that in screening-detected cancers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • England / epidemiology
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Mammography* / statistics & numerical data
  • Mass Screening* / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors