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Purpose To determine whether low levels of recall lead to increased interval cancers and the magnitude of this effect. Materials and Methods The authors retrospectively analyzed prospectively collected data from the UK National Health Service Breast Screening Programme during a 36-month period (April 1, 2005 to March 31, 2008), with 3-year follow-up in women aged 50-70 years. Data on recall, cancers detected at screening, and interval cancers were available for each of the 84 breast screening units and for each year (n = 252). The association between interval cancers and recalls was modeled by using Poisson regression on aggregated data and according to age (5-year intervals) and screening type (prevalent vs incident). Results The authors analyzed 5 126 689 screening episodes, demonstrating an average recall to assessment rate (RAR) of 4.56% (range, 1.64%-8.42%; standard deviation, 1.15%), cancer detection rate of 8.1 per 1000 women screened, and interval cancer rate (ICR) of 3.1 per 1000 women screened. Overall, a significant negative association was found between RAR and ICR (Poisson regression coefficient: -0.039 [95% confidence interval: -0.062, -0.017]; P = .001), with approximately one fewer interval cancer for every additional 80-84 recalls. Subgroup analysis revealed similar negative correlations in women aged 50-54 years (P = .002), 60-64 years (P = .01), and 65-69 years (P = .008) as well as in incident screens (P = .001) and prevalent screens (P = .04). No significant relationship was found in women aged 55-59 years (P = .46). Conclusion There was a statistically significant negative correlation between RAR and ICR, which suggests the merit of a minimum threshold for RAR. © RSNA, 2018 Online supplemental material is available for this article.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





47 - 54


Age Factors, Aged, Breast, Breast Neoplasms, Cohort Studies, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Mammography, Mass Screening, Middle Aged, Prevalence, Prospective Studies, Retrospective Studies, Risk Assessment, United Kingdom