(HealthDay News) — Computed radiography (CR) systems are 21% less effective at detecting breast cancers than screen-film mammography (SFM), according to a study published in the September issue of Radiology.

Anna M. Chiarelli, Ph.D., from Cancer Care Ontario in Toronto, and colleagues followed concurrent cohorts of women (aged 50 to 74 years) screened with digital direct radiography (DR) (220,520 women), CR (64,210), or SFM (403,688; the reference cohort) between 2008 and 2009.

The researchers found that the cancer detection rate was similar for DR (4.9 per 1,000) and SFM (4.8 per 1,000); however, the rate was significantly lower for CR (3.4 per 1,000; odds ratio, 0.79). Compared to recall rates for SFM (7.4%), recall rates for DR were higher (7.7%) and recall rates for CR were lower (6.6%). For CR, the positive predictive value was non-significantly lower (5.2%) than for SFM (6.6%).

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“Screening programs should monitor the performance of CR separately and may consider informing women of the potentially lower cancer detection rates,” the authors write.

Related: Breast Cancer Resource Center