TOMMY trial

A comparison of TOMosynthesis with digital MammographY in the UK NHS Breast Screening Programme

Breast screening is the best method of reducing mortality from breast cancer by early detection of the disease. However, with a standard mammogram overlapping structures can obscure some cancers or make normal tissue appear abnormal. This is a particular problem in younger women and those with dense breasts. It means that some cancers are missed at screening and generates increased anxiety for any women who have unnecessary tests.

Breast tomosynthesis is a newly developed imaging technique that takes multiple low dose X-ray images of the breast which are then processed by a computer to reconstruct a 3D image of breast tissue. This allows small cancers to be seen more easily and therefore detected earlier. It also reduces the number of 'false alarms' and recalls for assessment. It is not known whether tomosynthesis could replace digital mammography as a screening technique or whether it should be used in addition to digital mammography.

The aim of this trial is to compare tomosynthesis with standard digital mammography in women aged 47-73 .The trial will also include women aged 40-49 who are at high or moderate risk of developing breast cancer because of family history and who attend annual breast screening.

Please see the HTA Programme website, belonging to the National Institue for Health Research, for more information about the TOMMY trial (opens in new browser window).

Back to key research in breast screening.