Mette Kalager, MD; Hans-Olov Adami, MD, PhD; Michael Bretthauer, MD, PhD; Rulla M. Tamimi, ScD
Grant Support: By the Norwegian Research Council and Frontier Science.
Potential Conflicts of Interest: Disclosures can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M11-1560.
Reproducible Research Statement:Study protocol and data set: Not available. Statistical code: Available from Dr. Kalager (e-mail, mailto:email@example.com).
Requests for Single Reprints: Mette Kalager, MD, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115; e-mail, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Author Addresses: Drs. Kalager and Adami: Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
Dr. Adami: Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, POB 281, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
Dr. Bretthauer: Department of Transplantation Medicine, Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet, 0027 Oslo, Norway.
Dr. Tamimi: Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: M. Kalager, M. Bretthauer.
Analysis and interpretation of the data: M. Kalager, H.O. Adami, M. Bretthauer, R.M. Tamimi.
Drafting of the article: M. Kalager, H.O. Adami, M. Bretthauer.
Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: M. Kalager, H.O. Adami, M. Bretthauer, R.M. Tamimi.
Final approval of the article: M. Kalager, H.O. Adami, M. Bretthauer, R.M. Tamimi.
Provision of study materials or patients: M. Kalager.
Statistical expertise: M. Kalager.
Obtaining of funding: M. Kalager.
Kalager M, Adami H, Bretthauer M, Tamimi RM. Overdiagnosis of Invasive Breast Cancer Due to Mammography Screening: Results From the Norwegian Screening Program. Ann Intern Med. 2012;156:491-499. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-156-7-201204030-00005
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2012;156(7):491-499.
Precise quantification of overdiagnosis of breast cancer (defined as the percentage of cases of cancer that would not have become clinically apparent in a woman's lifetime without screening) due to mammography screening has been hampered by lack of valid comparison groups that identify incidence trends attributable to screening versus those due to temporal trends in incidence.
To estimate the percentage of overdiagnosis of breast cancer attributable to mammography screening.
Comparison of invasive breast cancer incidence with and without screening.
A nationwide mammography screening program in Norway (inviting women aged 50 to 69 years), gradually implemented from 1996 to 2005.
The Norwegian female population.
Concomitant incidence of invasive breast cancer from 1996 to 2005 in counties where the screening program was implemented compared with that in counties where the program was not yet implemented. To adjust for changes in temporal trends in breast cancer incidence, incidence rates during the preceding decade were also examined. The percentage of overdiagnosis was calculated by accounting for the expected decrease in incidence following cessation of screening after age 69 years (approach 1) and by comparing incidence in the current screening group with incidence among women 2 and 5 years older in the historical screening groups, accounting for average lead time (approach 2).
A total of 39 888 patients with invasive breast cancer were included, 7793 of whom were diagnosed after the screening program started. The estimated rate of overdiagnosis attributable to the program was 18% to 25% (P < 0.001) for approach 1 and 15% to 20% (P < 0.001) for approach 2. Thus, 15% to 25% of cases of cancer are overdiagnosed, translating to 6 to 10 women overdiagnosed for every 2500 women invited.
The study was registry-based.
Mammography screening entails a substantial amount of overdiagnosis.
Norwegian Research Council and Frontier Science.
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Hematology/Oncology, Breast Cancer, Cancer Screening/Prevention, Prevention/Screening.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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