The dilemma of recalling well-circumscribed masses in a screening population: A narrative literature review and exploration of Dutch screening practice

Tanya D. Geertse*, Daniëlle van der Waal, Willem Vreuls, Eric Tetteroo, Lucien E.M. Duijm, Ruud M. Pijnappel, Mireille J.M. Broeders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Background: In Dutch breast cancer screening, solitary, new or growing well-circumscribed masses should be recalled for further assessment. This results in cancers detected but also in false positive recalls, especially at initial screening. The aim of this study was to determine characteristics of well-circumscribed masses at mammography and identify potential methods to improve the recall strategy. Methods: A systematic literature search was performed using PubMed. In addition, follow-up data were retrieved on all 8860 recalled women in a Dutch screening region from 2014 to 2019. Results: Based on 15 articles identified in the literature search, we found that probably benign well-circumscribed masses that were kept under surveillance had a positive predictive value (PPV) of 0–2%. New or enlarging solitary well-circumscribed masses had a PPV of 10–12%. In general the detected carcinomas had a favorable prognosis. In our exploration of screening practice, 25% of recalls (2133/8860) were triggered by a well-circumscribed mass. Those recalls had a PPV of 2.0% for initial and 10.6% for subsequent screening. Most detected carcinomas had a favorable prognosis as well. Conclusion: To recognize malignancies presenting as well-circumscribed masses, identifying solitary, new or growing lesions is key. This information is missing at initial screening since prior examinations are not available, leading to a low PPV. Access to prior clinical examinations may therefore improve this PPV. In addition, given the generally favorable prognosis of screen-detected malignant well-circumscribed masses, one may opt to recall these lesions at subsequent screening, if grown, rather than at initial screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-440
Number of pages10
JournalBreast
Volume69
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • False positive screening outcomes
  • Probably benign lesions
  • Screening population
  • Well-circumscribed masses

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