Recall and Outcome of Screen-detected Microcalcifications during 2 Decades of Mammography Screening in the Netherlands National Breast Screening Program

Jacky D. Luiten*, Adri C. Voogd, Ernest J. T. Luiten, Mireille J. M. Broeders, Kit C. B. Roes, Vivianne C. G. Tjan-Heijnen, Lucien E. M. Duijm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Trends in the detection of suspicious microcalcifications at mammography screening and the yield of these lesions after recall are unknown.

Purpose: To determine trends in recall and outcome of screen-detected microcalcifications during 20 years of mammography screening.

Materials and Methods: The authors performed a retrospective analysis of a consecutive series of 817 656 screening examinations (January 1997 to January 2017) in a national breast screening program. In 2009-2010 (transition period), screen-film mammography (SFM) was gradually replaced by full-field digital mammography (FFDM). The recalls of suspicious microcalcifications from all radiology reports and pathologic outcome of recalled women with 2-year follow-up were analyzed. Screening outcome in the era of SFM (1997-2008), the transition period (2009-2010), and the era of FFDM (2011-2016) were compared. Trends over time and variations between the SFM and FFDM periods were expressed by using proportions with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). In cases where the analysis based on the CI confirmed clear periods (eg, before and after introduction of FFDM), pre- and postchange outcomes were compared by using chi(2) tests.

Results: A total of 18 592 women (median age, 59 years; interquartile range, 14 years) were recalled at mammography screening, 3556 of whom had suspicious microcalcifications. The recall rate for microcalcifications increased from 0.1% in 1997-1998 to 0.5% in 2015-2016 (P,.001). This was temporally associated with the change from SFM to FFDM. The recalls yielding ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) increased from 0.3 per 1000 screening examinations with SFM to 1.1 per 1000 screening examinations with FFDM (P <.001), resulting in a decrease in the positive predictive value for recall for suspicious microcalcifications from 51% to 33% (P <.001). More than half of all DCIS lesions were high grade (52.6%; 393 of 747). The distribution of DCIS grades was stable during the 20-year screening period (P = .36).

Conclusion: The recall rate for suspicious microcalcifications at mammographic screening increased during the past 2 decades, whereas the ductal carcinoma in situ detection rate increased less rapidly, resulting in a lower positive predictive value for recall. (C) RSNA, 2020.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-537
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020



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