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Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Appendix of Randomized Controlled Trials


NBSS-2, Canada 1980 [15]

Age at entry: 50 to 59 years.
Randomization: Individual volunteer (see NBSS-1).
Exclusions: Few, balanced between groups.
Sample size: 19,711 study (100% screened after entry CBE) and 19,694 control.
Intervention: Annual two-view MMG and CBE.
Control: Annual CBE.
Compliance: Initially 100%, decreased to 86.7% by screen five in the MMG and CBE group. Initially 100%, decreased to 85.4% by screen five in the CBE only group.
Contamination: 16.9% of the CBE only group.
Cause of death attribution: Death certificates, with review of questionable cases by a blinded review panel. Also linked with the Canadian Mortality Data Base, Statistics Canada.
Analysis: Follow-up.
External audit: Yes. Independent with analysis of data by several reviewers.
Follow-up duration: 11 to 16 years (mean 13 years).
Relative risk of breast cancer death, screening versus control (95% CI): 1.02 (0.78–1.33).
Comments: This trial is unique in that it compares one screening modality to another, and does not include an unscreened control. Regarding criticisms and comments about this trial, see NBSS-1.

Stockholm, Sweden 1981 [16]

Age at entry: 40 to 64 years.
Randomization: Cluster by birth date. There were two subtrials with balanced randomization in the first and a significant imbalance in the second with 508 more women in the screened group than the control.
Exclusions: Inconsistently reported.
Sample size: Declined from 40,318 to 38,525 in intervention group and rose from 19,943 to 20,978 in control, between published reports.
Consistency of reports: Variable.
Intervention: Single-view MMG every 28 months × 2.
Control: MMG at year 5.
Compliance: 82% screened.
Contamination: 25% of women entering the study had MMG in the 3 years before entry.
Cause of death attribution: Linked to Swedish Cause of Death Registry.
Analysis: Evaluation, with 1-year delay in the posttrial MMG in control group. Follow-up analysis as part of the Swedish meta-analysis.[5]
External audit: No.
Follow-up duration: 8 years.
Relative risk of breast cancer death, screening versus control (95% CI): 0.80 (0.53–1.22).
Comments: There are concerns about randomization, especially in the second subtrial, about exclusions, and about the delay in control group MMG. Inclusion of these data in the Swedish meta-analysis resolves many of these questions.

Gothenberg, Sweden 1982

Age at entry: 39 to 59 years.
Randomization: Complex; cluster randomly assigned within birth year by day of birth for older group (aged 50–59 years) and by individual for younger group (aged 39–49 years); ratio of study to control varied by year depending on MMG availability (randomization took place 1982–1984).
Exclusions: A similar proportion of women were excluded from both groups for prior breast cancer diagnosis (1.2% each).
Sample size: Most recent publication: 21,650 invited; 29,961 control.
Consistency of reports: Variable.
Intervention: Initial two-view MMG, then single-view MMG every 18 months × 4. Single-read first three rounds, then double-read.
Control: Control group received one screening exam approximately 3 to 8 months after the final screen in study group.
Cause of death attribution: Linked to Swedish Cause of Death Registry; also used an independent endpoint committee.
Analysis: Both evaluation and follow-up methods.[5]
External audit: No.
Follow-up duration: 12 to14 years.
Relative risk of breast cancer death, screening versus control (95% CI): Aged 39 to 59 years: 0.79 (0.58–1.08) [evaluation]; 0.77 (0.60–1.00) [follow-up].
Comments: No reduction for women aged 50 to 54 years, but similar reductions for other 5-year age groups.
Conclusions: Delay in the performance of MMG in the control group and unequal numbers of women in invited and control groups (complex randomization process) complicates interpretation.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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