A team of researchers including a contingent at Brown University led by Zheng Zhang, assistant Professor of biostatistics (Research), reports in the April 4 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association that supplementing annual mammography screening with ultrasound can increase the detection of invasive breast cancer in certain women. The study also found that MRI screening following three years of mammography and ultrasound identified additional cancers. The study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, looked at 2,662 women with increased cancer risk because of dense breast tissue and at least one other factor, such as family history. In 111 cancer diagnoses, 32 were only seen in the supplemental ultrasound, while 33 were only seen by mammography. In a subset of the women, MRI revealed more cancers that hadn't been seen. In a press release issued by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network, which ran the trial, Zhang pointed out that while the false-positive detection rate using the new methods is lower than with mammography alone, it is still substantial. Brown’s Program in Public Health leads ACRIN’s statistical analysis efforts.

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