HOUSTON (May 12, 2010)

In the United States, one out of eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. The earlier the breast cancer is found, the more likely a woman will live a normal life.

The Bobetta Lindig Breast Care Center at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center recently began participating in a clinical trial of a new imaging technology called breast tomosynthesis.

Breast tomosynthesis is an imaging technology that combines data from a series of low-dose radiation, two-dimensional (2-D) images taken during a short scan to create a single three-dimensional (3-D) image of the breast. Breast tomosynthesis reduces or eliminates the problems caused by tissue overlap in conventional 2-D mammography. Breast tomosynthesis also offers a number of advantages over conventional 2-D digital mammography, including improved diagnostic and screening accuracy, fewer recalls, greater radiologist confidence, and 3-D lesion localization.

"Many women have dense breast tissue. On a conventional mammogram, it can look similar to cancer," said Stephen Rose, MD, a breast radiologist at Memorial Hermann Memorial City and principal investigator for the Houston study. "Breast tomosynthesis allows us to see multiple slices of the breast, which improves our ability to see a malignancy that may be hidden by overlapping tissue."

Dr. Rose predicts he'll see fewer false positive results with breast tomosynthesis. And because the images are clearer, he believes radiologists will have the capability to see smaller lesions than what can be seen on a conventional mammogram.

"We're very excited about breast tomosynthesis because we can look at isolated areas of the breast in greater detail," added Dr. Rose.

The trial at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center will compare the combination of breast tomosynthesis and conventional digital mammography with conventional digital mammography by itself.

Breast tomosynthesis is available commercially in Europe and Canada, but not yet approved for use in the United States. Hospitals including Memorial Hermann Memorial City are gathering data for FDA approval. The clinical trial is sponsored in part by Hologic, manufacturer of the breast tomosynthesis system used in the trial. For more information, call (713) 242.3717.