Donald L Weaver

University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, United States

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Publications (104)730.03 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Screening mammography utilization in Vermont has declined since 2009 during a time of changing screening guidelines and increased interest in personalized screening regimens. This study evaluates whether the breast cancer risk distribution of the state's screened population changed during the observed decline.
    Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 08/2014; 106(8).
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    ABSTRACT: Context.-Little is known about the frequency of discordant diagnoses identified during research. Objective.-To describe diagnostic discordance identified during research and apply a newly designed research framework for investigating discordance. Design.-Breast biopsy cases (N = 407) from registries in Vermont and New Hampshire were independently reviewed by a breast pathology expert. The following research framework was developed to assess those cases: (1) compare the expert review and study database diagnoses, (2) determine the clinical significance of diagnostic discordance, (3) identify and correct data errors and verify the existence of true diagnostic discrepancies, (4) consider the impact of borderline cases, and (5) determine the notification approach for verified disagreements. Results.-Initial overall discordance between the original diagnosis recorded in our research database and a breast pathology expert was 32.2% (131 of 407). This was reduced to less than 10% after following the 5-step research framework. Detailed review identified 12 cases (2.9%) with data errors (2 in the underlying pathology registry, 3 with incomplete slides sent for expert review, and 7 with data abstraction errors). After excluding the cases with data errors, 38 cases (9.6%) among the remaining 395 had clinically meaningful discordant diagnoses (κ = 0.82; SE, 0.04; 95% confidence interval, 0.76-0.87). Among these 38 cases, 20 (53%) were considered borderline between 2 diagnoses by either the original pathologist or the expert. We elected to notify the pathology registries and facilities regarding discordant diagnoses. Conclusions.-Understanding the types and sources of diagnostic discordance uncovered in research studies may lead to improved scientific data and better patient care.
    Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine 07/2014; 138(7):955-961. · 2.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Further to advancements in instrumentation and fluorescent dye technologies, there has been a resurgence of interest in the flow cytometric assay of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens. Here we present a novel, simple and effective alternative to whole block sectioning that allows selective multisampling of tissues within a specimen block and the investigation of intratumoral heterogeneity. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded breast carcinoma specimens were core-punched using 1.0 mm diameter needles and assayed by flow cytometry using a modified Hedley method. Intratumoral heterogeneity for DNA index and per cent S-phase fraction was detected in 10 of 23 (44%) and 11 of 23 (47%) specimens respectively. Macro-level genomic heterogeneity is common in breast cancer even within a single surgical specimen block. Studies investigating the relationship of DNA content heterogeneity to other markers of genomic instability such as mutations, deletions, insertions and translocations are warranted.
    Journal of clinical pathology. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Breast cancer screening holds a prominent place in public health, health care delivery, policy, and women's health care decisions. Several factors are driving shifts in how population-based breast cancer screening is approached, including advanced imaging technologies, health system performance measures, health care reform, concern for “overdiagnosis,” and improved understanding of risk. Maximizing benefits while minimizing the harms of screening requires moving from a “1-size-fits-all” guideline paradigm to more personalized strategies. A refined conceptual model for breast cancer screening is needed to align women's risks and preferences with screening regimens. A conceptual model of personalized breast cancer screening is presented herein that emphasizes key domains and transitions throughout the screening process, as well as multilevel perspectives. The key domains of screening awareness, detection, diagnosis, and treatment and survivorship are conceptualized to function at the level of the patient, provider, facility, health care system, and population/policy arena. Personalized breast cancer screening can be assessed across these domains with both process and outcome measures. Identifying, evaluating, and monitoring process measures in screening is a focus of a National Cancer Institute initiative entitled PROSPR (Population-based Research Optimizing Screening through Personalized Regimens), which will provide generalizable evidence for a risk-based model of breast cancer screening, The model presented builds on prior breast cancer screening models and may serve to identify new measures to optimize benefits-to-harms tradeoffs in population-based screening, which is a timely goal in the era of health care reform. Cancer 2014. © 2014 American Cancer Society.
    Cancer 05/2014; · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Digital whole slide imaging (WSI) is an emerging technology for pathology interpretation; however, little is known about pathologists' practice patterns or perceptions regarding WSI. A national sample (N = 252) of pathologists from New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Alaska, Maine, and Minnesota were surveyed in this cross-sectional study (2011-2013). The survey included questions on pathologists' experience, WSI practice patterns, and perceptions using a six-point Likert scale. Agreement was summarized with descriptive statistics to characterize pathologists' use and perceptions of WSI. The majority of participating pathologists were males (63 %) between 40 and 59 years of age (70 %) and not affiliated with an academic medical center (72 %). Experience with WSI was reported by 49 %. Types of use reported included CME/board exams/teaching (28 %), tumor board/clinical conference (22 %), archival purposes (6 %), consultative diagnosis (4 %), research (4 %), and other uses (12 %). Most respondents (79 %) agreed that accurate diagnoses can be made with this technology, and that WSI is useful for obtaining a second opinion (88 %). However, 78 % of pathologists agreed that digital slides are too slow for routine clinical interpretation. Fifty-nine percent agreed that the benefits of WSI outweigh concerns. The respondents were equally split as to whether they would like to adopt WSI (51 %) or not (49 %). About half of pathologists reported experience with the WSI technology, largely for CME, licensure/board exams, and teaching. Positive perceptions regarding WSI slightly outweigh negative perceptions. Understanding practice patterns with WSI as dissemination advances may facilitate concordance of perceptions with adoption of the technology.
    Journal of Digital Imaging 03/2014; · 1.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To provide evidence-based recommendations to practicing oncologists, surgeons, and radiation therapy clinicians to update the 2005 clinical practice guideline on the use of sentinel node biopsy (SNB) for patients with early-stage breast cancer. The American Society of Clinical Oncology convened an Update Committee of experts in medical oncology, pathology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, guideline implementation, and advocacy. A systematic review of the literature was conducted from February 2004 to January 2013 in Medline. Guideline recommendations were based on the review of the evidence by Update Committee. This guideline update reflects changes in practice since the 2005 guideline. Nine randomized clinical trials (RCTs) met systematic review criteria for clinical questions 1 and 2; 13 cohort studies informed clinical question 3. Women without sentinel lymph node (SLN) metastases should not receive axillary lymph node dissection (ALND). Women with one to two metastatic SLNs planning to undergo breast-conserving surgery with whole-breast radiotherapy should not undergo ALND (in most cases). Women with SLN metastases who will undergo mastectomy should be offered ALND. These three recommendation are based on RCTs. Women with operable breast cancer and multicentric tumors, with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) who will undergo mastectomy, who previously underwent breast and/or axillary surgery, or who received preoperative/neoadjuvant systemic therapy may be offered SNB. Women who have large or locally advanced invasive breast cancer (tumor size T3/T4), inflammatory breast cancer, or DCIS (when breast-conserving surgery is planned) or are pregnant should not undergo SNB. These recommendations are based on cohort studies and/or informal consensus. In some cases, updated evidence was insufficient to update previous recommendations.
    Journal of Clinical Oncology 03/2014; · 18.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A better understanding of the reasons for diagnostic variability may help reduce the phenomenon. In preparation for a study on interpretation of breast specimens (B-Path), a panel of three experienced breast pathologists reviewed 336 cases to develop consensus reference diagnoses. After independent assessment, cases coded as diagnostic discordance were discussed at consensus meetings. Using qualitative data analysis techniques, transcripts of 16 hours of consensus meetings for a subset of 201 cases were analyzed. The reasons for diagnostic variability could be attributed to three overall root causes: 1) pathologist-related, 2) diagnostic coding/study methodology-related and 3) specimen-related. Most pathologist-related root causes were due to professional differences in pathologists' opinions about whether the diagnostic criteria for a specific diagnosis were met, most frequently in cases of atypia. Diagnostic coding/study methodology root causes were primarily miscategorizations of descriptive text diagnoses, which led to development of a standardized electronic diagnostic form (BPATH-Dx). Specimen-related causes included artifacts, limited diagnostic material and poor slide quality. After re-review and discussion, a consensus diagnosis could be assigned in all cases. In conclusion, diagnostic variability is related to multiple factors, but consensus conferences, standardized electronic reporting formats and comments on suboptimal specimen quality can be used to reduce diagnostic variability. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Histopathology 02/2014; · 2.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose:To determine whether the 2009 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines for breast cancer mammography screening were followed by changes in screening utilization in the state of Vermont.Materials and Methods:This retrospective study was HIPAA compliant and approved by the institutional review board, with waiver of informed consent. Trends in screening mammography utilization during 1997-2011 were examined among approximately 150 000 women aged 40 years and older in the state of Vermont using statewide mammography registry data.Results:The percentage of Vermont women aged 40 years and older screened in the past year declined from 45.3% in 2009% to 41.6% in 2011 (an absolute decrease of -3.7 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -3.3, -4.1). The largest decline in utilization was among women aged 40-49 years (-4.8 percentage points; 95% CI: -4.1, -5.4), although substantial declines were also observed among women aged 50-74 years (-3.0 percentage points; 95% CI: -2.6, -3.5) and women aged 75 years and older (-3.1 percentage points; 95% CI: -2.3, -4.0). The percentage of women aged 50-74 years screened within the past 2 years declined by -3.4 percentage points (95% CI: -3.0, -3.9) from 65.4% in 2009 to 61.9% in 2011.Conclusion:After years of increasing screening mammography utilization in Vermont, there was a decline in screening, which coincided with the release of the 2009 USPSTF recommendations. The age-specific patterns in utilization were generally consistent with the USPSTF recommendations, although there was also evidence that the percentage of women aged 50-74 years screened in the past 2 years declined since 2009.© RSNA, 2013.
    Radiology 09/2013; · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Benign breast disease and high breast density are prevalent, strong risk factors for breast cancer. Women with both risk factors may be at very high risk. METHODS: We included 42818 women participating in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium who had no prior diagnosis of breast cancer and had undergone at least one benign breast biopsy and mammogram; 1359 women developed incident breast cancer in 6.1 years of follow-up (78.1% invasive, 21.9% ductal carcinoma in situ). We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) using Cox regression analysis. The referent group was women with nonproliferative changes and average density. All P values are two-sided. RESULTS: Benign breast disease and breast density were independently associated with breast cancer. The combination of atypical hyperplasia and very high density was uncommon (0.6% of biopsies) but was associated with the highest risk for breast cancer (HR = 5.34; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.52 to 8.09, P < .001). Proliferative disease without atypia (25.6% of biopsies) was associated with elevated risk that varied little across levels of density: average (HR = 1.37; 95% CI = 1.11 to 1.69, P = .003), high (HR = 2.02; 95% CI = 1.68 to 2.44, P < .001), or very high (HR = 2.05; 95% CI = 1.54 to 2.72, P < .001). Low breast density (4.5% of biopsies) was associated with low risk (HRs <1) for all benign pathology diagnoses. CONCLUSIONS: Women with high breast density and proliferative benign breast disease are at very high risk for future breast cancer. Women with low breast density are at low risk, regardless of their benign pathologic diagnosis.
    CancerSpectrum Knowledge Environment 06/2013; · 14.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Diagnostic test sets are a valuable research tool that contributes importantly to the validity and reliability of studies that assess agreement in breast pathology. In order to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of any agreement and reliability study, however, the methods should be fully reported. In this paper we provide a step-by-step description of the methods used to create four complex test sets for a study of diagnostic agreement among pathologists interpreting breast biopsy specimens. We use the newly developed Guidelines for Reporting Reliability and Agreement Studies (GRRAS) as a basis to report these methods. METHODS: Breast tissue biopsies were selected from the National Cancer Institute-funded Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium sites. We used a random sampling stratified according to woman's age (40--49 vs. >=50), parenchymal breast density (low vs. high) and interpretation of the original pathologist. A 3-member panel of expert breast pathologists first independently interpreted each case using five primary diagnostic categories (non-proliferative changes, proliferative changes without atypia, atypical ductal hyperplasia, ductal carcinoma in situ, and invasive carcinoma). When the experts did not unanimously agree on a case diagnosis a modified Delphi method was used to determine the reference standard consensus diagnosis. The final test cases were stratified and randomly assigned into one of four unique test sets. CONCLUSIONS: We found GRRAS recommendations to be very useful in reporting diagnostic test set development and recommend inclusion of two additional criteria: 1) characterizing the study population and 2) describing the methods for reference diagnosis, when applicable.
    BMC Women s Health 02/2013; 13(1):3. · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Women with elevated mammographic density have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. However, among women diagnosed with breast cancer, it is unclear whether higher density portends reduced survival, independent of other factors. We evaluated relationships between mammographic density and risk of death from breast cancer and all causes within the US Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. We studied 9232 women diagnosed with primary invasive breast carcinoma during 1996-2005, with a mean follow-up of 6.6 years. Mammographic density was assessed using the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) density classification. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated by Cox proportional hazards regression; women with scattered fibroglandular densities (BI-RADS 2) were the referent group. All statistical tests were two-sided. A total of 1795 women died, of whom 889 died of breast cancer. In multivariable analyses (adjusted for site, age at and year of diagnosis, American Joint Committee on Cancer stage, body mass index, mode of detection, treatment, and income), high density (BI-RADS 4) was not related to risk of death from breast cancer (HR = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.71 to 1.19) or death from all causes (HR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.68 to 1.02). Analyses stratified by stage and other prognostic factors yielded similar results, except for an increased risk of breast cancer death among women with low density (BI-RADS 1) who were either obese (HR = 2.02, 95% CI = 1.37 to 2.97) or had tumors of at least 2.0 cm (HR = 1.55, 95% CI = 1.14 to 2.09). High mammographic breast density was not associated with risk of death from breast cancer or death from any cause after accounting for other patient and tumor characteristics. Thus, risk factors for the development of breast cancer may not necessarily be the same as factors influencing the risk of death after breast cancer has developed.
    CancerSpectrum Knowledge Environment 08/2012; 104(16):1218-27. · 14.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) sought to provide an evidence-based guideline on the use of lymphatic mapping and sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy in staging patients with newly diagnosed melanoma. A comprehensive systematic review of the literature published from January 1990 through August 2011 was completed using MEDLINE and EMBASE. Abstracts from ASCO and SSO annual meetings were included in the evidence review. An Expert Panel was convened to review the evidence and develop guideline recommendations. Seventy-three studies met full eligibility criteria. The evidence review demonstrated that SLN biopsy is an acceptable method for lymph node staging of most patients with newly diagnosed melanoma. SLN biopsy is recommended for patients with intermediate-thickness melanomas (Breslow thickness, 1 to 4 mm) of any anatomic site; use of SLN biopsy in this population provides accurate staging. Although there are few studies focusing on patients with thick melanomas (T4; Breslow thickness, > 4 mm), SLN biopsy may be recommended for staging purposes and to facilitate regional disease control. There is insufficient evidence to support routine SLN biopsy for patients with thin melanomas (T1; Breslow thickness, < 1 mm), although it may be considered in selected patients with high-risk features when staging benefits outweigh risks of the procedure. Completion lymph node dissection (CLND) is recommended for all patients with a positive SLN biopsy and achieves good regional disease control. Whether CLND after a positive SLN biopsy improves survival is the subject of the ongoing Multicenter Selective Lymphadenectomy Trial II.
    Journal of Clinical Oncology 07/2012; 30(23):2912-8. · 18.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) sought to provide an evidence-based guideline on the use of lymphatic mapping and sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy in staging patients with newly diagnosed melanoma. A comprehensive systematic review of the literature published from January 1990 through August 2011 was completed using MEDLINE and EMBASE. Abstracts from ASCO and SSO annual meetings were included in the evidence review. An Expert Panel was convened to review the evidence and develop guideline recommendations. Seventy-three studies met full eligibility criteria. The evidence review demonstrated that SLN biopsy is an acceptable method for lymph node staging of most patients with newly diagnosed melanoma. SLN biopsy is recommended for patients with intermediate-thickness melanomas (Breslow thickness, 1-4 mm) of any anatomic site; use of SLN biopsy in this population provides accurate staging. Although there are few studies focusing on patients with thick melanomas (T4; Breslow thickness, >4 mm), SLN biopsy may be recommended for staging purposes and to facilitate regional disease control. There is insufficient evidence to support routine SLN biopsy for patients with thin melanomas (T1; Breslow thickness, <1 mm), although it may be considered in selected patients with high-risk features when staging benefits outweigh risks of the procedure. Completion lymph node dissection (CLND) is recommended for all patients with a positive SLN biopsy and achieves good regional disease control. Whether CLND after a positive SLN biopsy improves survival is the subject of the ongoing Multicenter Selective Lymphadenectomy Trial II. Copyright © 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology and Society of Surgical Oncology. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and Society of Surgical Oncology.
    Annals of Surgical Oncology 07/2012; 19(11):3313-24. · 4.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CONTEXT: Digital pathology has the potential to dramatically alter the way pathologists work, yet little is known about pathologists' viewing behavior while interpreting digital whole slide images. While tracking pathologist eye movements when viewing digital slides may be the most direct method of capturing pathologists' viewing strategies, this technique is cumbersome and technically challenging to use in remote settings. Tracking pathologist mouse cursor movements may serve as a practical method of studying digital slide interpretation, and mouse cursor data may illuminate pathologists' viewing strategies and time expenditures in their interpretive workflow. AIMS: To evaluate the utility of mouse cursor movement data, in addition to eye-tracking data, in studying pathologists' attention and viewing behavior. SETTINGS AND DESIGN: Pathologists (N = 7) viewed 10 digital whole slide images of breast tissue that were selected using a random stratified sampling technique to include a range of breast pathology diagnoses (benign/atypia, carcinoma in situ, and invasive breast cancer). A panel of three expert breast pathologists established a consensus diagnosis for each case using a modified Delphi approach. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Participants' foveal vision was tracked using SensoMotoric Instruments RED 60 Hz eye-tracking system. Mouse cursor movement was tracked using a custom MATLAB script. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS USED: Data on eye-gaze and mouse cursor position were gathered at fixed intervals and analyzed using distance comparisons and regression analyses by slide diagnosis and pathologist expertise. Pathologists' accuracy (defined as percent agreement with the expert consensus diagnoses) and efficiency (accuracy and speed) were also analyzed. RESULTS: Mean viewing time per slide was 75.2 seconds (SD = 38.42). Accuracy (percent agreement with expert consensus) by diagnosis type was: 83% (benign/atypia); 48% (carcinoma in situ); and 93% (invasive). Spatial coupling was close between eye-gaze and mouse cursor positions (highest frequency ∆x was 4.00px (SD = 16.10), and ∆y was 37.50px (SD = 28.08)). Mouse cursor position moderately predicted eye gaze patterns (Rx = 0.33 and Ry = 0.21). CONCLUSIONS: Data detailing mouse cursor movements may be a useful addition to future studies of pathologists' accuracy and efficiency when using digital pathology.
    Journal of pathology informatics. 01/2012; 3:43.
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    ABSTRACT: Retrospective and observational analyses suggest that occult lymph-node metastases are an important prognostic factor for disease recurrence or survival among patients with breast cancer. Prospective data on clinical outcomes from randomized trials according to sentinel-node involvement have been lacking. We randomly assigned women with breast cancer to sentinel-lymph-node biopsy plus axillary dissection or sentinel-lymph-node biopsy alone. Paraffin-embedded tissue blocks of sentinel lymph nodes obtained from patients with pathologically negative sentinel lymph nodes were centrally evaluated for occult metastases deeper in the blocks. Both routine staining and immunohistochemical staining for cytokeratin were used at two widely spaced additional tissue levels. Treating physicians were unaware of the findings, which were not used for clinical treatment decisions. The initial evaluation at participating sites was designed to detect all macrometastases larger than 2 mm in the greatest dimension. Occult metastases were detected in 15.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 14.7 to 17.1) of 3887 patients. Log-rank tests indicated a significant difference between patients in whom occult metastases were detected and those in whom no occult metastases were detected with respect to overall survival (P=0.03), disease-free survival (P=0.02), and distant-disease-free interval (P=0.04). The corresponding adjusted hazard ratios for death, any outcome event, and distant disease were 1.40 (95% CI, 1.05 to 1.86), 1.31 (95% CI, 1.07 to 1.60), and 1.30 (95% CI, 1.02 to 1.66), respectively. Five-year Kaplan-Meier estimates of overall survival among patients in whom occult metastases were detected and those without detectable metastases were 94.6% and 95.8%, respectively. Occult metastases were an independent prognostic variable in patients with sentinel nodes that were negative on initial examination; however, the magnitude of the difference in outcome at 5 years was small (1.2 percentage points). These data do not indicate a clinical benefit of additional evaluation, including immunohistochemical analysis, of initially negative sentinel nodes in patients with breast cancer. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute; number, NCT00003830.).
    New England Journal of Medicine 02/2011; 364(5):412-21. · 51.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate sensitivity, specificity, and cancer detection rate of screening mammography according to week of menstrual cycle among premenopausal women. In this institutional review board-approved HIPAA-compliant study, sensitivity, specificity, and cancer detection rate of 387,218 screening mammograms linked to 1283 breast cancers in premenopausal women according to week of menstrual cycle were studied by using prospectively collected information from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. Logistic regression analysis was used to test for differences in mammography performance according to week of menstrual cycle, adjusting for age and registry. Overall, screening mammography performance did not differ according to week of menstrual cycle. However, when analyses were subdivided according to prior mammography, different patterns emerged. For the 66.6% of women who had undergone regular screening (mammography had been performed within the past 2 years), sensitivity was higher in week 1 (79.5%) than in subsequent weeks (week 2, 70.3%; week 3, 67.4%; week 4, 73.0%; P = .041). In the 17.8% of women who underwent mammography for the first time in this study, sensitivity tended to be lower during the follicular phase (week 1, 72.1%; week 2, 80.4%; week 3, 84.6%; week 4, 93.8%; P = .051). Sensitivity did not vary significantly by week in menstrual cycle in women who had undergone mammography more than 3 years earlier. There were no clinically meaningful differences in specificity or cancer detection rate. Conclusion: Premenopausal women who undergo regular screening may benefit from higher sensitivity of mammography if they schedule screening mammography during the 1st week of their menstrual cycle. Supplemental material:
    Radiology 02/2011; 258(2):372-9. · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mammographic density (MD), which reflects the fibroglandular tissue content of the breast, is an established breast cancer risk factor. MD has typically been rated visually in broad categories or quantified as a percentage of the total breast area by computer-assisted technologies. These methods ignore spatial distribution of MD and breast thickness. We used a novel volumetric method to assess whether MD surrounding a suspicious lesion detected on mammography and/or sonography was related to pathologic diagnosis in a cross-sectional study of 465 women, ages 40-65, who were clinically referred during 2007-2010 for an image-guided breast biopsy at the University of Vermont Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium site. Peri-lesional and overall volumetric MD were assessed in craniocaudal views of pre-biopsy digital mammograms using single x-ray absorptiometry. Preliminary analyses of 308 women demonstrated that mean peri-lesional MD was 5.6% (95% confidence interval: 4.2-7.1%) higher than overall MD. In multivariate analysis of covariance models adjusted for age and body mass index, which are strongly and inversely related to MD, we found that the mean difference between peri-lesional and overall MD was 8.5% (95% CI: 4.8-12.3%) among the 49 women with incident breast cancer versus 5.1% (95% CI: 3.4-6.7%; p=0.10) among the 259 women with benign diagnoses. We suggest that large differences between peri-lesional and total volumetric MD may be associated with breast cancer. We are expanding the analysis to assess whether peri-lesional MD is a useful predictor of underlying pathology.
  • 01/2011
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    ABSTRACT: Sentinel-lymph-node (SLN) surgery was designed to minimise the side-effects of lymph-node surgery but still offer outcomes equivalent to axillary-lymph-node dissection (ALND). The aims of National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) trial B-32 were to establish whether SLN resection in patients with breast cancer achieves the same survival and regional control as ALND, but with fewer side-effects. NSABP B-32 was a randomised controlled phase 3 trial done at 80 centres in Canada and the USA between May 1, 1999, and Feb 29, 2004. Women with invasive breast cancer were randomly assigned to either SLN resection plus ALND (group 1) or to SLN resection alone with ALND only if the SLNs were positive (group 2). Random assignment was done at the NSABP Biostatistical Center (Pittsburgh, PA, USA) with a biased coin minimisation approach in an allocation ratio of 1:1. Stratification variables were age at entry (≤ 49 years, ≥ 50 years), clinical tumour size (≤ 2·0 cm, 2·1-4·0 cm, ≥ 4·1 cm), and surgical plan (lumpectomy, mastectomy). SLN resection was done with a blue dye and radioactive tracer. Outcome analyses were done in patients who were assessed as having pathologically negative sentinel nodes and for whom follow-up data were available. The primary endpoint was overall survival. Analyses were done on an intention-to-treat basis. All deaths, irrespective of cause, were included. The mean time on study for the SLN-negative patients with follow-up information was 95·6 months (range 70·1-126·7). This study is registered with, number NCT00003830. 5611 women were randomly assigned to the treatment groups, 3989 had pathologically negative SLN. 309 deaths were reported in the 3986 SLN-negative patients with follow-up information: 140 of 1975 patients in group 1 and 169 of 2011 in group 2. Log-rank comparison of overall survival in groups 1 and 2 yielded an unadjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 1·20 (95% CI 0·96-1·50; p=0·12). 8-year Kaplan-Meier estimates for overall survival were 91·8% (95% CI 90·4-93·3) in group 1 and 90·3% (88·8-91·8) in group 2. Treatment comparisons for disease-free survival yielded an unadjusted HR of 1·05 (95% CI 0·90-1·22; p=0·54). 8-year Kaplan-Meier estimates for disease-free survival were 82·4% (80·5-84·4) in group 1 and 81·5% (79·6-83·4) in group 2. There were eight regional-node recurrences as first events in group 1 and 14 in group 2 (p=0·22). Patients are continuing follow-up for longer-term assessment of survival and regional control. The most common adverse events were allergic reactions, mostly related to the administration of the blue dye. Overall survival, disease-free survival, and regional control were statistically equivalent between groups. When the SLN is negative, SLN surgery alone with no further ALND is an appropriate, safe, and effective therapy for breast cancer patients with clinically negative lymph nodes. US Public Health Service, National Cancer Institute, and Department of Health and Human Services.
    The Lancet Oncology 10/2010; 11(10):927-33. · 25.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Three year post-surgical morbidity levels were compared between patients with negative sentinel lymph node dissection alone (SLND) and those with negative sentinel node dissection and negative axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in the NSABP B-32 trial. A total of 1,975 ALND and 2,008 SLND node negative breast cancer patients had shoulder range of motion and arm volumes assessed along with self reports of arm tingling and numbness. Relative shoulder abduction deficits and relative arm volume differences between ipsilateral and contralateral arms were calculated. Shoulder abduction deficits >or=10% peaked at 1 week for the ALND (75%) and SLND (41%) groups. Arm volume differences >or=10% at 36 months were evident for the ALND (14%) and SLND (8%) groups. Numbness and tingling peaked at 6 months for the ALND (49%, 23%) and SLND (15%, 10%) groups. Logistic regression correlates of residual morbidity included treatment group, age, handedness, tumor size, systemic chemotherapy, and radiation to the axilla. Although residual morbidity for both treatment groups was evident, the results of the NSABP B-32 study indicate the superiority of the SLND compared to the ALND treatment approach relative to post-surgical morbidity outcomes over a 3-year follow-up period.
    Journal of Surgical Oncology 08/2010; 102(2):111-8. · 2.64 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

7k Citations
730.03 Total Impact Points


  • 1999–2014
    • University of Vermont
      • • Department of Surgery
      • • Department of Pathology
      • • Department of Animal Science
      • • College of Medicine
      • • Vermont Cancer Center
      Burlington, Vermont, United States
  • 2009
    • Brigham and Women's Hospital
      • Department of Pathology
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 1998–2009
    • Fletcher Allen Health Care
      Burlington, Vermont, United States
  • 2008
    • CSU Mentor
      Long Beach, California, United States
    • National Cancer Institute (USA)
      • Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
      Bethesda, MD, United States
    • Cancer Registry of Norway
      • Department of Research
      Kristiania (historical), Oslo County, Norway
    • Michigan State University
      • Department of Animal Science
      East Lansing, MI, United States
  • 2007
    • Oregon Health and Science University
      • Department of Family Medicine
      Portland, Oregon, United States
  • 2004
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Biostatistics
      Seattle, WA, United States
  • 2002
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • Division of Hospital Medicine
      San Francisco, CA, United States