BACKGROUND : Digital breast tomosynthesis is an advancement of mammography, and has the potential to overcome limitations of standard digital mammography. This study aimed to compare first-generation digital breast tomo-synthesis including two-dimensional (2D) synthetic mammograms versus digital mammography in a population-based screening programme. METHODS : BreastScreen Norway offers all women aged 50-69 years two-view (craniocaudal and mediolateral oblique) mammographic screening every 2 years and does independent double reading with consensus. We asked all 32 976 women who attended the programme in Bergen in 2016-17, to participate in this randomised, controlled trial with a parallel group design. A study-specific software was developed to allocate women to either digital breast tomosynthesis or digital mammography using a 1:1 simple randomisation method based on participants' unique national identity numbers. The interviewing radiographer did the randomisation by entering the number into the software. Randomisation was done after consent and was therefore concealed from both the women and the radiographer at the time of consent; the algorithm was not disclosed to radiographers during the recruitment period. All data needed for analyses were complete 12 months after the recruitment period ended. The primary outcome measure was screen-detected breast cancer, stratified by screening technique (ie, digital breast tomosynthesis and digital mammography). A log-binomial regression model was used to estimate the efficacy of digital breast tomosynthesis versus digital mammography, defined as the crude risk ratios (RRs) with 95% CIs for screen-detected breast cancer for women screened during the recruitment period. A per-protocol approach was used in the analyses. This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02835625, and is closed to accrual. RESULTS : Between, Jan 14, 2016, and Dec 31, 2017, 44 266 women were invited to the screening programme in Bergen, and 32 976 (74·5%) attended. After excluding women with breast implants and women who did not consent to participate, 29 453 (89·3%) were eligible for electronic randomisation. 14 734 women were allocated to digital breast tomosynthesis and 14 719 to digital mammography. After randomisation, women with a previous breast cancer were excluded (digital breast tomosynthesis group n=314, digital mammography group n=316), women with metastases from melanoma (digital breast tomosynthesis group n=1), and women who informed the radiographer about breast symptoms after providing consent (digital breast tomosynthesis group n=39, digital mammography group n=34). After exclusions, information from 28 749 women were included in the analyses (digital breast tomosynthesis group n=14 380, digital mammography group n=14 369). The proportion of screen-detected breast cancer among the screened women did not differ between the two groups (95 [0·66%, 0·53-0·79] of 14 380 vs 87 [0·61%, 0·48-0·73] of 14 369; RR 1·09, 95% CI 0·82-1·46; p=0·56). CONCLUSIONS : This study indicated that digital breast tomosynthesis including synthetic 2D mammograms was not significantly different from standard digital mammography as a screening tool for the detection of breast cancer in a population-based screening programme. Economic analyses and follow-up studies on interval and consecutive round screen-detected breast cancers are needed to better understand the effect of digital breast tomosynthesis in population-based breast cancer screening. BACKGROUND : Cancer Registry of Norway, Department of Radiology at Haukeland University Hospital, University of Oslo, and Research Council of Norway.