Frequency and diagnostic outcome of bilateral recall at screening mammography

J.R.C. Lameijer*, J. Nederend, A.C. Voogd, V.C.G. Tjan-Heijnen, L.E.M. Duijm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Our study was performed to determine the frequency of recall for bilateral breast lesions at screening mammography and compare its outcome with respect to unilateral recall. We included 329 132 screening mammograms (34 889 initial screens and 294 243 subsequent screens) from a Dutch screening mammography program between January 2013 and January 2018. During a 2-year follow-up, we collected radiological data, pathology reports and surgical reports of all recalled women. At bilateral recall, the lesion with the highest Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System score was used as the index lesion when comparing screening mammography characteristics at bilateral vs unilateral recall. A total of 9806 women were recalled at screening (recall rate, 3.0%). Bilateral recall comprised 2.8% (271/9806) of all recalls. Biopsy was more frequently performed after bilateral recall than unilateral recall (54.6% [148/271] vs 44.1% [4201/9535],P < .001), yielding a lower positive predictive value (PPV) of biopsy after bilateral recall (42.6% vs 51.7%,P= .029). The PPV of recall was comparable for both groups (23.2% [63/271] vs 22.8% [2173/9535],P= .85). Invasive cancers after bilateral recall were larger than those diagnosed after unilateral recall (P= .02), but histological subtype, histologic grading, receptor status and proportions of lymph node positive cancers were comparable. Bilateral recall infrequently occurs at screening mammography. Biopsy is more frequently performed following bilateral recall, but the PPV of recall is similar for unilateral and bilateral recall. Invasive cancers of both groups show comparable pathological features except of a larger tumor size after bilateral recall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • bilateral recall
  • breast cancer
  • breast-cancer
  • digital mammography
  • epidemiology
  • impact
  • malignancy
  • netherlands
  • prognosis
  • screening
  • survival
  • tomosynthesis

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