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Variables Predicting Cancer After Mammography Identified

Masses, calcifications best predictors after abnormal mammography

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Among women who develop invasive breast cancer after abnormal mammographic findings, the best predictors of cancer are masses and calcifications, with asymmetry and architectural distortions having much lower positive predictive value, researchers report in the March issue of Radiology.

Aruna Venkatesan, and colleagues from the University of California San Francisco examined the positive predictive value of mass, calcifications, architectural distortion and asymmetry for breast cancer risk in 10,262 women who underwent screening or diagnostic mammography with abnormal results.

The researchers found that 1,552 women (15 percent) developed breast cancer, where 1,287 had invasive cancers. The most common findings were masses (56 percent) and calcifications (29 percent), followed by asymmetry (12 percent) and architectural distortion (4 percent). Masses, calcifications and architectural distortion had similar positive predictive values for screening mammography, while the positive predictive values for asymmetry were lower, the report indicates. The positive predictive values for diagnostic mammography were higher. Most invasive cancers were identified with a mass (68 percent), followed by calcifications (21 percent), architectural distortions (6 percent) and asymmetry (5 percent), the authors note.

"Five percent of invasive cancers were identified with asymmetry, and asymmetry is more weakly associated with cancer in screening examinations than are mass, calcifications and architectural distortion," Venkatesan and colleagues conclude.

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