Taplin SH, Abraham L, Geller BM, Yankaskas BC, Buist DSM, Smith-Bindman R, Lehman C, Weaver D, Carney PA, Barlow WE. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2010 July 21; 102(14): 1040–1051. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djq233.


Most breast biopsies will be negative for cancer. Benign breast biopsy can cause changes in the breast tissue, but whether such changes affect the interpretive performance of future screening mammography is not known.

We prospectively evaluated whether self-reported benign breast biopsy was associated with reduced subsequent screening mammography performance using examination data from the mammography registries of the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium from January 2, 1996, through December 31, 2005. A positive interpretation was defined as a recommendation for any additional evaluation. Cancer was defined as any invasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ diagnosed within 1 year of mammography screening. Measures of mammography performance (sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value 1 [PPV1]) were compared both at woman level and breast level in the presence and absence of self-reported benign biopsy history. Referral to biopsy was considered a positive interpretation to calculate positive predictive value 2 (PPV2). Multivariable analysis of a correct interpretation on each performance measure was conducted after adjusting for registry, year of examination, patient characteristics, months since last mammogram, and availability of comparison film. Accuracy of the mammogram interpretation was measured using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC). All statistical tests were two-sided.

A total of 2,007,381 screening mammograms were identified among 799,613 women, of which 14.6% mammograms were associated with self-reported previous breast biopsy. Multivariable adjusted models for mammography performance showed reduced specificity (odds ratio [OR] = 0.74, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.73 to 0.75, P < .001), PPV2 (OR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.79 to 0.92, P < .001), and AUC (AUC 0.892 vs 0.925, P < .001) among women with self-reported benign biopsy. There was no difference in sensitivity or PPV1 in the same adjusted models, although unadjusted differences in both were found. Specificity was lowest among women with documented fine needle aspiration-the least invasive biopsy technique (OR = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.55 to 0.61, P < .001). Repeating the analysis among women with documented biopsy history, unilateral biopsy history, or restricted to invasive cancers did not change the results.

Self-reported benign breast biopsy history was associated with statistically significantly reduced mammography performance. The difference in performance was likely because of tissue characteristics rather than the biopsy itself.