To assess the performance of a test for breast cancer utilizing synchrotron x-ray diffraction analysis of scalp hair from women undergoing diagnostic radiology assessment.
Design and Setting:
A double-blinded clinical trial of women who attended diagnostic radiology clinics in Australia.
1796 women referred for diagnostic radiology, with no previous history of cancer.
Main Outcome Measures:
Sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of the hair test analysis compared to the gold standard of imaging followed by biopsy where indicated.
The hair-based assay had an overall accuracy of >77% and a negative predictive value of 99%. For all women, the sensitivity of both mammography and X-ray diffraction alone was 64%, but when used together the sensitivity rose to 86%. The sensitivity of the hair test for women under the age of 70 was 74%.
In this large population trial the association between the presence of breast cancer and an altered hair fibre X-ray diffraction pattern previously reported has been confirmed. It appears that mammography and X-ray diffraction of hair detect different populations of breast cancers, and are synergistic when used together.