Evaluation of mammographic surveillance services inwomen aged 40-49 years with a moderate family history of breast cancer: a single-arm cohort study

Authors: Duffy SW, Mackay J, Thomas S, Anderson E, Chen TH, Ellis I, Evans G, Fielder H, Fox R, Gui G, Macmillan D, Moss S, Rogers C, Sibbering M, Wallis M, Warren R, Watson E, Whynes D, Allgood P, Caunt J

Journal: Health Technology Assessment Volume: 17 Issue: 11

Publication date: March 2013

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3310/hta17110


Duffy SW, Mackay J, Thomas S, Anderson E, Chen TH, Ellis I, et al.Evaluation of mammographic surveillance services inwomen aged 40-49 years with a moderate family history of breast cancer: a single-arm cohort study. Health Technol Assess 2013;17(11)

Download: Citation (for this publication as a .ris file) (3.4 KB)

Journal issues* can be purchased by completing the form.

The cost of reports varies according to number of pages and postage address. The minimum cost for a copy sent to a UK address is £30.00. We will contact you on receipt of your completed form to advise you of actual cost. If you have any queries, please contact nihredit@southampton.ac.uk.

*We regret that unfortunately we are unable to supply bound print copies of Health Technology Assessment published before issue 12:31. However, PDFs are available to print from the "Downloads" tab of the issue page.


No responses have been published. If you would like to submit a response to this publication, please do so using the form below.

Comments submitted to the NIHR Journals Library are electronic letters to the editor. They enable our readers to debate issues raised in research reports published in the Journals Library. We aim to post within 2 working days all responses that contribute substantially to the topic investigated, as determined by the Editors.

Your name and affiliations will be published with your comment.

Once published, you will not have the right to remove or edit your response. The Editors may add, remove, or edit comments at their absolute discretion.

Post your response



Middle Initial

Occupation / Job title

Affiliation / Employer



Other authors

For example, if you are responding as a team or group. Please ensure you include full names and separate these using commas

Statement of competing interests

We believe that readers should be aware of any competing interests (conflicts of interest).

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) define competing interests as including: financial relationships with industry (for example through employment, consultancies, stock, ownership, honoraria, and expert testimony), either directly or through immediate family; personal relationships; academic competition; and intellectual passion.

If yes, provide details below:

Enter response title

Enter response message


Security key

Regenerate security key

By submitting your response, you are stating that you agree to the terms & conditions

The online version of this issue is currently unavailable.
The PDF version is available from the downloads section of this page.



Women with a significant family history of breast cancer are often offered more intensive and earlier surveillance than is offered to the general population in the National Breast Screening Programme. Up to now, this strategy has not been fully evaluated.


To evaluate the benefit of mammographic surveillance for women aged 40-49 years at moderate risk of breast cancer due to family history. The study is referred to as FH01.


This was a single-arm cohort study with recruitment taking place between January 2003 and February 2007. Recruits were women aged < 50 years with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer conferring at least a 3% risk of breast cancer between ages 40 and 49 years. The women were offered annual mammography for at least 5 years and observed for the occurrence of breast cancer during the surveillance period. The age group 40-44 years was targeted so that they would still be aged < 50 years after 5 years of surveillance.


Seventy-four surveillance centres in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


A total of 6710 women, 94% of whom were aged < 45 years at recruitment, with a family history of breast cancer estimated to imply at least a 3% risk of the disease between the ages of 40 and 50 years.


Annual mammography for at least 5 years.

Main outcome measures

The primary study end point was the predicted risk of death from breast cancer as estimated from the size, lymph node status and grade of the tumours diagnosed. This was compared with the control group from the UK Breast Screening Age Trial (Age Trial), adjusting for the different underlying incidence in the two populations.


As of December 2010, there were 165 breast cancers diagnosed in 37,025 person-years of observation and 30,556 mammographic screening episodes. Of these, 122 (74%) were diagnosed at screening. The cancers included 44 (27%) cases of ductal carcinoma in situ. There were 19 predicted deaths in 37,025 person-years in FH01, with an estimated incidence of 6.3 per 1000 per year. The corresponding figures for the Age Trial control group were 204 predicted deaths in 622,127 person-years and an incidence of 2.4 per 1000 per year. This gave an estimated 40% reduction in breast cancer mortality (relative risk = 0.60; 95% confidence interval 0.37 to 0.98; p = 0.04).


Annual mammography in women aged 40-49 years with a significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer is both clinically effective in reducing breast cancer mortality and cost-effective. There is a need to further standardise familial risk assessment, to research the impact of digital mammography and to clarify the role of breast density in this population.

Trial registration

National Research Register N0484114809.


This project was funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 17, No. 11. See the HTA programme website for further project information.

Share this page

Email this page
Publication updates

If you would like to receive information on publications and the latest news, click below to sign up.