New and emerging technologies for breast cancer detection

Mundy L, Liufu V, Braunack-Mayer A, Merlin T, Hiller JE
Record ID 32010000757
Authors' objectives: Identify any new and emerging technologies for the early detection of breast cancer, and to give a brief but non-systematic overview on the current available evidence on these techniques.
Authors' results and conclusions: Screening programs directed at the early detection of breast cancer must satisfy a number of essential criteria. An ideal screening program would have a 100% sensitivity and specificity. There is a fine balance between sensitivity and specificity, and thus when screening for breast cancer in an asymptomatic population it may be preferable to reduce the number of false negatives (increase the sensitivity of a test) at the expense of increasing the number of false positives. Mammography is considered an imperfect screening tool, as it is neither highly sensitive nor highly specific. Although mammography has its limitations, there is no doubt that, with the introduction of the universal mammography program offered by BreastScreen Australia for women aged 50-69 years that the morbidity and mortality associated with breast cancer has declined over time and with increased participation. Seven technologies were identified that were used for the detection of breast cancer: computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), ultrasonography, thermography, electrical impedance, scintimammography and ductoscopy. In addition, three future technologies were described which may not be of any clinical value within a five-year time frame: volatile organic compound breath tests, radar-based microwave imaging and optical coherence tomography. Prognostic indicators or risk assessment tools were also described. Few studies reported on the use of technologies in a truly asymptomatic population. It is clear from the included studies, that to draw any meaningful conclusions regarding the potential of new breast cancer diagnostic technologies, larger, long-term studies of appropriate study design need to be conducted in asymptomatic women.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2009
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Other
Country: Australia
MeSH Terms
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Diagnostic Imaging
Organisation Name: Adelaide Health Technology Assessment
Contact Address: School of Public Health, Mail Drop 545, University of Adelaide, Adelaide SA 5005, AUSTRALIA, Tel: +61 8 8313 4617
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Copyright: Adelaide Health Technology Assessment (AHTA)
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