Digital breast tomosynthesis versus mammography and breast ultrasound: A multireader performance study

Fabienne Thibault, Clarisse Dromain, Catherine Breucq, Corinne S. Balleyguier, Caroline Malhaire, Luc Steyaert, Anne Tardivon, Enrica Baldan, Harir Drevon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To compare the diagnostic performance of single-view breast tomosynthesis (BT) with that of dual-view mammography (MX); to assess the benefit of adding the craniocaudal (CC) mammographic view to BT, and of adding BT to MX plus breast ultrasound, considered to be the reference work-up. Methods: One hundred and fifty-five consenting patients with unresolved mammographic and/or ultrasound findings or breast symptoms underwent conventional work-up plus mediolateral oblique-view BT of the affected breast. The final study set in 130 patients resulted in 55 malignant and 76 benign and normal cases. Seven breast radiologists rated the cases through five sequential techniques using a BIRADS-based scale: MX, MX + ultrasound, MX + ultrasound + BT, BT, BT + MX(CC). Multireader, multicase receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was performed and performance of the techniques was assessed from the areas under ROC curves. The performance of BT and of BT + MX(CC) was tested versus MX; the performance of MX + ultrasound + BT tested versus MX + ultrasound. Results: Tomosynthesis was found to be non-inferior to mammography. BT + MX(CC) did not appear to be superior to MX, and MX + ultrasound + BT not superior to MX + ultrasound. Conclusions: Overall, none of the five techniques tested outperformed the others. Further clinical studies are needed to clarify the role of BT as a substitute for traditional work-up in the diagnostic environment. Key Points: • Digital breast tomosynthesis is a new adjunct to mammography and breast ultrasound. • We compared the diagnostic performance of these investigations in an experimental observer study. • Single-view breast tomosynthesis was confirmed as non-inferior to dual-view mammography. • None of the investigations (or combinations) tested outperformed the others. • Further prospective studies are needed to clarify precise role of tomosynthesis for diagnostic application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2441-2449
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • 3D imaging
  • Breast
  • Breast neoplasms
  • Mammography
  • ROC analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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