The following article is part of conference coverage from the 17th St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Symposium, which is being held virtually from March 7-21, 2021. The team at Cancer Therapy Advisor will be reporting on the latest research conducted by leading experts in breast cancer. Check back for more from the 17th St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Symposium.

Breast ultrasound may be an effective primary detection tool for breast cancer screening and preoperative assessment, according to the results of a single-center study presented at the St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference 2021.

Claudia Stanciu-Pop, MD, of the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, and colleagues studied incremental breast cancer detection rates of mammography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 1077 patients treated at their institution for unifocal invasive breast cancer between 2011 and 2016.

Performance was assessed using sensitivity of each modality and by intrinsic subtype. Among the 1077 patients there were 1104 breast tumors. The majority of tumors were luminal A (59.6%), followed by luminal B (30.2%), triple negative (7.6%), and HER2 enriched (2.6%).

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Overall, mammography detected 85.96% of breast tumors, ultrasound, 99.0%, and MRI 98.46%.

Looking specifically at ultrasound, 99.08% of luminal A, 98.79% of luminal B, 100% of HER2-enriched, and 100% of triple-negative tumors were detected. MRI also detected 100% of HER2-enriched and triple-negative tumors, as well as  97.87% of luminal A and 99.09% of luminal B tumors.

Using mammogram, 84.04% of luminal A, 90.39% of luminal B, 89.65% of HER2-enriched, and 82.14% of triple-negative tumors were identified.

Ultrasound as a supplementary tool detected almost all breast cancers missed by mammogram, according to Dr Stanciu-Pop and colleagues.

“These results support the potential use of breast ultrasound as an effective primary detection tool for breast cancer,” they concluded.

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Stanciu-Pop C, Pop FC, Drisis S, et al. Intrinsic tumor subtype and diagnostic performance of conventional breast imaging technique for the detection of unifocal breast cancer. Poster presentation at: 17th St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference; March 17-21, 2021. Abstract P051.