Trends in Clinical Breast Density Assessment from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium

B. L. Sprague, K. Kerlikowske, E. J.A. Bowles, G. H. Rauscher, C. I. Lee, A. N.A. Tosteson, Diana L Miglioretti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Changes to mammography practice, including revised Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) density classification guidelines and implementation of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), may impact clinical breast density assessment. We investigated temporal trends in clinical breast density assessment among 2 990 291 digital mammography (DM) screens and 221 063 DBT screens interpreted by 722 radiologists from 144 facilities in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. After age-standardization, 46.3% (95% CI = 44.1% to 48.6%) of DM screens were assessed as dense (heterogeneously/extremely dense) during the BI-RADS 4th edition era (2005-2013), compared to 46.5% (95% CI = 43.8% to 49.1%) during the 5th edition era (2014-2016) (P = .93 from two-sided generalized score test). Among DBT screens in the BI-RADS 5th edition era, 45.8% (95% CI = 42.0% to 49.7%) were assessed as dense (P = .77 from two-sided generalized score test) compared to 46.5% (95% CI = 43.8% to 49.1%) dense on DM in BI-RADS 5th edition era. Results were similar when examining all four density categories and age subgroups. Clinicians, researchers, and policymakers may reasonably expect stable density distributions across screened populations despite changes to the BI-RADS guidelines and implementation of DBT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-632
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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