University of Hertfordshire

Radiological audit of interval breast cancers: Estimation of tumour growth rates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Emma G MacInnes
  • Stephen W Duffy
  • Julie A Simpson
  • Matthew G Wallis
  • Anne E Turnbull
  • Louise S Wilkinson
  • Keshthra Satchithananda
  • Rumana Rahim
  • David Dodwell
  • Brian V Hogan
  • Oleg Blyuss
  • Nisha Sharma
View graph of relations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-119
Number of pages6
JournalBreast (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Early online date1 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


INTRODUCTION: This multicentre, retrospective study aimed to establish correlation between estimated tumour volume doubling times (TVDT) from a series of interval breast cancers with their clinicopathological features. The potential impact of delayed diagnosis on prognosis was also explored. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Interval cancers, where screening mammograms demonstrated changes that were retrospectively classified as either uncertain or suspicious, were reviewed from five screening units within the UK NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP). Data collected included the time interval between screening mammogram and cancer diagnosis, the size of the initial mammographic abnormality and of the subsequent cancer, demographics, mammographic density and tumour biology. We estimated volume doubling times and the estimated change in size and node status, which would have followed if these cancers had been detected at the previous screen.RESULTS: 306 interval cancers meeting the inclusion criteria were identified. Average time from screening to diagnosis was 644 days (SD 276 days). 19% were diagnosed in the first twelve months, 42% in the subsequent twelve months and 39% thereafter. Overall average estimated TVDT was 167 days (95% CI 151-186). Significant differences were noted with age (p = 0.01), grade (p < 0.001) and ER status (p < 0.001) with women under 60, grade 3 cancers and ER negative cancers having shorter TVDTs. HER2 positive tumours had shorter doubling times than HER2 negative, but this difference was not statistically significant. It was estimated that diagnosing these cancers at the previous screen would have increased ten-year survival from 82% to 86%.CONCLUSION: High grade, ER negativity and younger age were associated with shorter durations of TVDT. The role of HER2 status on interval cancer growth rate requires further assessment. It is likely that the delayed diagnosis of interval cancers confers a 4% reduction in ten-year survival.


© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

ID: 20905181