Digital breast tomosynthesis for breast cancer detection: a diagnostic test accuracy systematic review and meta-analysis Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: No consensus exists on digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) utilization for breast cancer detection. We performed a diagnostic test accuracy systematic review and meta-analysis comparing DBT, combined DBT and digital mammography (DM), and DM alone for breast cancer detection in average-risk women. METHODS: MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched until September 2018. Comparative design studies reporting on the diagnostic accuracy of DBT and/or DM for breast cancer detection were included. Demographic, methodologic, and diagnostic accuracy data were extracted. Risk of bias was assessed using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS)-2 tool. Accuracy metrics were pooled using bivariate random-effects meta-analysis. The impact of multiple covariates was assessed using meta-regression. PROSPERO ID: CRD 42018111287. RESULTS: Thirty-eight studies reporting on 488,099 patients (13,923 with breast cancer) were included. Eleven studies were at low risk of bias. DBT alone, combined DBT and DM, and DM alone demonstrated sensitivities of 88% (95% confidence interval [CI] 83-92), 88% (CI 83-92), and 79% (CI 75-82), as well as specificities of 84% (CI 76-89), 81% (CI 73-88), and 79% (CI 71-85), respectively. The greater sensitivities of DBT alone and combined DBT and DM compared to DM alone were preserved in the combined meta-regression models accounting for other covariates (p = 0.003-0.006). No significant difference in diagnostic accuracy between DBT alone and combined DBT and DM was identified (p = 0.175-0.581). CONCLUSIONS: DBT is more sensitive than DM, while the addition of DM to DBT provides no additional diagnostic benefit. Consideration of these findings in breast cancer imaging guidelines is recommended. KEY POINTS: • Digital breast tomosynthesis with or without additional digital mammography is more sensitive in detecting breast cancer than digital mammography alone in women at average risk for breast cancer. • The addition of digital mammography to digital breast tomosynthesis provides no additional diagnostic benefit in detecting breast cancer compared to digital breast tomosynthesis alone. • The specificity of digital breast tomosynthesis with or without additional digital mammography is no different than digital mammography alone in the detection of breast cancer.


  • Alabousi, Mostafa
  • Zha, Nanxi
  • Salameh, Jean-Paul
  • Samoilov, Lucy
  • Sharifabadi, Anahita Dehmoobad
  • Pozdnyakov, Alex
  • Sadeghirad, Behnam
  • Freitas, Vivianne
  • McInnes, Matthew DF
  • Alabousi, Abdullah

publication date

  • April 2020