Targeting Yearly Mammograms to At-Risk Patients Holds Promise

February 2011, Vol 2, No 1 -

Directing yearly mammography efforts to younger women with a familial history of breast cancer will likely prevent deaths, results of a new study show (Lancet Oncol. 2010;11: 1127-1134).

English researchers enrolled a cohort of women at intermediate familial risk of breast cancer and had them undergo mammography for 4 years, and then compared breast cancer incidence and severity between this group and 2 comparison groups.

Of the 6710 women en rolled, 136 women were diagnosed with breast cancer (105 at screening, 28 symptomatically between screening events, and 3 after failing to attend their latest mammogram).

Invasive tumors in the study group were significantly smaller, less likely to be node positive, and of more favorable grade than those in the first comparative control group, and were significantly less likely to be node positive than tumors in the second control group. The predicted 10-year mortality rate in the study cohort was significantly lower after risk adjustment.

The data suggest that for women at familial risk of breast cancer, “mammographic surveillance could increase cancer detection, reduce the risk of advanced-stage disease, and decrease predicted mortality,” the authors wrote.