BreastScreen Victoria hosts Australian-first trial for breast cancer detection


BreastScreen Victoria hosts Australian-first trial for breast cancer detection

New digital 3D-mammography technology that may improve breast cancer detection is the subject of a landmark Australian trial within the BreastScreen Victoria screening program.

BreastScreen Victoria is jointly funded by Victorian and Australian Governments. The BreastScreen Victoria Tomosynthesis in Screening Trial is a collaboration between BreastScreen Victoria, Eastern Health and the University of Sydney with funding from the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Five-thousand Victorian women who attend the Maroondah BreastScreen clinic at Eastern Health for regular screening, will participate in the Australian-first trial of tomosynthesis, a three-dimensional (3D) mammography technology.

The trial will consider findings on feasibility of the technology within the BreastScreen Victoria program and screening detection measures – breast cancer detection and recall rates.

University of Sydney Professor Nehmat Houssami will be funded by the National Breast Cancer Foundation as lead investigator. Professor Houssami said this trial represents the first and most critical step towards providing evidence on outcomes of tomosynthesis (3D-mammography) screening in the Australian context and will work with BreastScreen Victoria to implement the trial under the clinical lead of Dr Darren Lockie, Director, Maroondah BreastScreen.

“While international trials have shown that using 3D-mammography with standard 2D-mammography increases breast cancer detection, there is no evidence to show that this will be the case in the Australian setting within a population screening program,” said Professor Houssami.

“For tomosynthesis to be recommended for adoption in Australia, evidence on its cancer detection capability when used in local programs must be gathered before a larger trial or changes to current screening programs can be looked at.”

While standard 2D-mammography captures a single x-ray image of the breast, tomosynthesis or, 3D-mammography, captures multiple images to create a visual reconstruction.

BreastScreen Victoria CEO, Vicki Pridmore said that while tomosynthesis is promising it is important to have a robust understanding of how it will impact the existing screening program.

“BreastScreen Victoria is always building evidence to deliver the best-possible screening program to Victorian women,” said Ms Pridmore.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s (NBCF) Director of Research Investment Dr Alessandra Muntoni said that this new trial is one of over 30 breast cancer research projects funded by NBCF in 2017 for a total investment of more than $12 million.

“Professor Houssami’s research study is a great example of the innovative breast cancer research projects that the National Breast Cancer Foundation has funded this year. We know that research into better screening and detection of breast cancer helps Australians receive the right treatment as early as possible, so Nehmat’s project has the potential to make a big impact on survival rates.”

Eastern Health CEO, Adjunct Professor David Plunkett, said that Maroondah BreastScreen, Eastern Health is pleased to participate in this landmark Australian trial that will inform population screening programs.

“We look forward to working with BreastScreen Victoria and the University of Sydney on this pilot to investigate the benefits of this new technology,” he said.

The BreastScreen Victoria Tomosynthesis in Screening Trial will commence in the second half of 2017.

More information can be found at breastscreen.org.au/breast-cancer-and-screening/screening-methods-and-diagnosis/