Interval breast cancer rates and histopathologic tumor characteristics after false-positive findings at mammography in a populationbased screening program


Publication date


Series/Report no



RSNA Radiological Society

Document type


Purpose To compare rates and tumor characteristics of interval breast cancers (IBCs) detected after a negative versus false-positive screening among women participating in the Norwegian Breast Cancer Screening Program. Materials and Methods The Cancer Registry Regulation approved this retrospective study. Information about 423 445 women aged 49–71 years who underwent 789 481 full-field digital mammographic screening examinations during 2004–2012 was extracted from the Cancer Registry of Norway. Rates and odds ratios of IBC among women with a negative (the reference group) versus a false-positive screening were estimated by using logistic regression models adjusted for age at diagnosis and county of residence. Results A total of 1302 IBCs were diagnosed after 789 481 screening examinations, of which 7.0% (91 of 1302) were detected among women with a false-positive screening as the most recent breast imaging examination before detection. By using negative screening as the reference, adjusted odds ratios of IBCs were 3.3 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.6, 4.2) and 2.8 (95% CI: 1.8, 4.4) for women with a false-positive screening without and with needle biopsy, respectively. Women with a previous negative screening had a significantly lower proportion of tumors that were 10 mm or less (14.3% [150 of 1049] vs 50.0% [seven of 14], respectively; P < .01) and grade I tumors (13.2% [147 of 1114] vs 42.9% [six of 14]; P < .01), but a higher proportion of cases with lymph nodes positive for cancer (40.9% [442 of 1080] vs 13.3% [two of 15], respectively; P = .03) compared with women with a previous false-positive screening with benign biopsy. A retrospective review of the screening mammographic examinations identified 42.9% (39 of 91) of the false-positive cases to be the same lesion as the IBC. Conclusion By using a negative screening as the reference, a false-positive screening examination increased the risk of an IBC three-fold. The tumor characteristics of IBC after a negative screening were less favorable compared with those detected after a previous false-positive screening.




Permanent URL (for citation purposes)