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Mixed-Methods Study to Predict Upstaging of DCIS to Invasive Disease on Mammography.

BACKGROUND. The incidence of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) has steadily increased, as have concerns regarding overtreatment. Active surveillance is a novel treatment strategy that avoids surgical excision, but identifying patients with occult invasive disease who should be excluded from active surveillance is challenging. Radiologists are not typically expected to predict the upstaging of DCIS to invasive disease, though they might be trained to perform this task. OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a mixed-methods two-stage observer study can improve radiologists' ability to predict upstaging of DCIS to invasive disease on mammography. METHODS. All cases of DCIS calcifications that underwent stereotactic biopsy between 2010 and 2015 were identified. Two cohorts were randomly generated, each containing 150 cases (120 pure DCIS cases and 30 DCIS cases upstaged to invasive disease at surgery). Nine breast radiologists reviewed the mammograms in the first cohort in a blinded fashion and scored the probability of upstaging to invasive disease. The radiologists then reviewed the cases and results collectively in a focus group to develop consensus criteria that could improve their ability to predict upstaging. The radiologists reviewed the mammograms from the second cohort in a blinded fashion and again scored the probability of upstaging. Statistical analysis compared the performances between rounds 1 and 2. RESULTS. The mean AUC for reader performance in predicting upstaging in round 1 was 0.623 (range, 0.514-0.684). In the focus group, radiologists agreed that upstaging was better predicted when an associated mass, asymmetry, or architectural distortion was present; when densely packed calcifications extended over a larger area; and when the most suspicious features were focused on rather than the most common features. Additionally, radiologists agreed that BI-RADS descriptors do not adequately characterize risk of invasion, and that microinvasive disease and smaller areas of DCIS will have poor prediction estimates. Reader performance significantly improved in round 2 (mean AUC, 0.765; range, 0.617-0.852; p = .045). CONCLUSION. A mixed-methods two-stage observer study identified factors that helped radiologists significantly improve their ability to predict upstaging of DCIS to invasive disease. CLINICAL IMPACT. Breast radiologists can be trained to better predict upstaging of DCIS to invasive disease, which may facilitate discussions with patients and referring providers.


Grimm, Lars J., Benjamin Neely, Rui Hou, Vignesh Selvakumaran, Jay A. Baker, Sora C. Yoon, Sujata V. Ghate, et al. “Mixed-Methods Study to Predict Upstaging of DCIS to Invasive Disease on Mammography.” Ajr Am J Roentgenol 216, no. 4 (April 2021): 903–11.

Published Date: 
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Published In: 
Ajr. American Journal of Roentgenology