The technology “may be encouraging radiologists to find lesions that don’t matter as much”, said lead author Dr. Constance Lehman, director of breast imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital.
For radiologists who interpreted digital mammograms both with and without CAD, sensitivity for breast cancer detection was lower with CAD use. Bedford, MA-based Hologic, which reaps 37% of its sales from breast health products, saw its shares tumble 5.6% to $37.76 after the findings were released-the company’s biggest one-day decline since November 2013, Bloomberg reports. The strengths of this study include its large sample size in terms of mammograms, patients, and radiologists studied. Nashua, NH-based Icad fell 10% to $3.37.
“We found no evidence that [computer-aided detection] applied to digital mammography in U.S. community practice improves screening mammography performance on any performance measure or in any subgroup of women”.
Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) and major medical organizations experienced in breast cancer care continue to recommend that women start getting annual mammograms at age 40.
Computer-aided detection added to mammography may not improve breast cancer detection, a new study contends. Cancer was detected in the same proportion of women regardless of which method was used, with similar accuracy in finding actual tumors and ruling out false positives.
There is a “significant body of clinical literature” that proves the technology enhances the performance of radiologists and increases cancer detection, Icad chief executive Ken Ferry said in an e-mail. The devices are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a rigorous process that requires proof of safety and benefit, he said. Investment in new technology should be done only after its benefits are proven and its cost is justifiable, he said. The electrical signals can be read on computer screens, permitting more manipulation of images to theoretically allow radiologists to more clearly view the results. With the equipment already available at most health-care facilities, their use may not decline, he said.
But Dr. Kathryn Evers, director of breast imaging at Fox Chase Cancer Center, said the study “is certainly not the last word”.
Aetna Inc. will review the study and take it into consideration when deciding on coverage, a spokeswoman said. Cigna Corp. spokesman Matt Asensio declined to comment.
But a few of these earlier studies involved adding computer detection to mammograms using outdated film X-rays, not more advanced digital X-rays now used in most mammograms nationwide, the study authors said.