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MyPEBS study - For a personalised cancer screening

Press release (25/10/2017)

MyPEBS Study (My Personal Breast Screening)
For a personalised cancer screening

Brussels, 25 October 2017 - The Jules Bordet Institute, an integrated centre in the fight against
cancer and a reference in Belgium and abroad, is participating in a study with the potential to
modify the breast cancer screening programme. The importance of screening for breast cancer is now beyond question, but are the mass screening programmes in place today sufficient? Do they fulfill the promises made when first introduced at national and European level? At the Jules Bordet Cancer Prevention and Screening Clinic we believe the screening programmes could be more effective by taking the individual risk factor into account. That is the hypothesis that the new European study MyPEBS, coordinated by France (Unicancer and the Gustave Roussy Institute), aims to test.

Dr Jean Benoit Burrion
Dr Jean-Benoît Burrion, Head of Cancer Prevention and Screening

Why the MyPEBS study

Current mass screening programmes (mammography every 2 years for women aged between 50 and 70) are based on studies carried out in the 1980s. Since then studies have shown that the impact on mortality is less than expected and that a number of deficiencies relating to screening were underestimated: over-diagnosis (the fact of finding and treating tumours that would not have posed a problem – 1 in 5 of cancers detected), interval cancers (cancers that arise between two mammographies or that were not detected – ¼ of cancers diagnosed) and, finally, false positives (women called back for additional examinations that do not reveal a cancer –10% of women screened).

"We can no longer ignore these data. Today we know that we are not all equal in the face of cancer: the risk varies considerably from one individual to another depending on intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Consequently, the notion of a screening that takes into account the level of risk could reduce significantly the deficiencies of the present strategy, while at the same time helping to reduce mortality linked to breast cancers," explains Dr Jean-Benoît Burrion, Head of the Prevention and Screening Clinic at the Jules Bordet Institute

The study objectives

  1. Compare the strategy per risk stratum (based solely on age) in terms of impact on the incidence of so-called advanced tumours (poorer survival prognoses).
  2. Compare the deficiencies in terms of over-diagnosis, false positives and interval cancers
  3. Measure the psychological acceptability of the strategy per risk stratum.
  4. Compare the performance of the two strategies in terms of cost effectiveness.

The trial principle

  • Recruitment of 85,000 women in the study's 5 participating countries.
  • A randomised study staggered over 7 years (launch in January 2018
  • A control group (present strategy) and experimental group (assignation of the volunteers to 4 different risk strata with screening programme adapted to each stratum).
    Definition of four sub-groups of women according to 4 levels of risk of developing a breast cancer and testing of screening programmes adapted according to the groups.

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