November 2021 – Unicancer announces that 20,000 women have already joined the MyPeBS (My Personal Breast Screening) study. This large international study, coordinated by France by Unicancer, started in summer 2019 and mobilises more than 300 recruiting sites in 6 countries (Italy, France, Israel, Belgium, UK, Spain). The objective of MyPeBS is to evaluate a new breast cancer screening strategy, based on each woman’s individual risk of developing this disease. A total of 85,000 volunteer women aged between 40 and 70 who have never had breast cancer are expected to participate.
« We are delighted to reach this symbolic milestone of 20,000 women, as MyPeBS addresses a major public health challenge: to identify a screening strategy that is more efficient and safer than the current one», explains Dr Suzette Delaloge, oncologist at Gustave Roussy Cancer campus (Villejuif, France), and international coordinator of the MyPeBS study.
We hope that many more volunteers will take part in this research. Interested women can find all relevant information on the MyPeBS website www.mypebs.eu
Every woman is unique, can breast cancer screening be personalised?
With almost 355,000 new cases diagnosed and 92,000 deaths each year in Europe1, breast cancer is the most common and deadliest cancer in women, but it is most often curable if diagnosed early enough: that’s what screening is all about.
Today, all women aged 50 to 74 are invited to participate in the organised breast cancer screening programme by having a mammogram every two years.
However, not all women are identical when it comes to breast cancer risk.
This is why MyPeBS proposes to adapt the frequency and methods of screening from the age of 40 onwards according to the personal risk profile of each woman, based on several factors (genetic, hormonal, family history, etc.): the higher the risk, the more intensive the screening examinations, and vice versa.
In order to evaluate this new screening strategy, the MyPeBS study randomly assigns participating women to follow either the standard screening schedule or a personalised screening schedule according to their risk of breast cancer. The duration of participation is 4 years for all women.
Thus, MyPeBS is investigating whether personalised risk-based screening could be both more efficient (fewer late-stage breast cancers diagnosed) and safer (fewer false positives2 and over-diagnoses3) than the current organised screening strategies.
MyPeBS could guide future European recommendations on breast cancer screening.
1 2020 figures, source : European Cancer Information System (ECIS). https://ecis.jrc.ec.europa.eu
2 False positive: Cancer suspected on a mammogram and which, after further evaluation, is not confirmed.
3 Overdiagnosis: a cancer that is detected by mammography screening but develops so slowly that it would never cause any symptoms over the life of the woman concerned; however, it leads to other unnecessary exams (e.g. biopsy) or even ineffective- yet sometimes very aggressive – anti-cancer treatments (referred to as “overtreatment”). This concerns around 1 in 10 cancers detected by mammography screening.