ABUS not needed in at-risk women's screening protocol

By Kate Madden Yee, AuntMinnie.com staff writer

November 11, 2015 --

Monday, November 30 | 10:20 a.m.-10:30 a.m. | RC215-10 | Arie Crown Theater
Women who carry BRCA genes benefit from yearly screening with both MRI and mammography. Because these women can still present with interval cancers, would adding automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) to the mix find more cancers earlier?

Not really, according to Dutch researchers. A team led by Jan van Zelst of Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen found that adding ABUS to the women's screening program did not increase cancer detection.

The researchers included 295 BRCA gene mutation carriers in the study, offering them five rounds of screening over two years. Four breast radiologists read all exams -- mammography, MRI, and ABUS; van Zelst and colleagues analyzed each modality's sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value.

Of the 295 women, 16 were diagnosed with a screen-detected cancer. Six of these were ductal carcinoma in situ, none of which were found on ABUS; 10 were invasive, with ABUS identifying seven.

ABUS did not find any additional cancers, leading the researchers to conclude that adding ABUS to the screening protocol for this particular population of at-risk women is not beneficial.