Breast Density Estimations in Standard-dose, Synthetic Mammograms

Breast percentage density estimations with synthesized 2D breast imaging versus standard-dose mammograms.

Synthesized digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) images are generally comparable to images from standard-dose mammograms, according to a study published in Radiology.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia compared the quality and agreement between automated estimates of breast density made from standard-dose versus synthetic digital mammograms among women undergoing breast cancer screening.

The researchers evaluated images taken from 3,668 negative digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) screening examinations consecutively performed over a four-month period, in which both standard-dose and synthesized mammograms were available. Agreement between density estimates was assessed by using Pearson correlation, linear regression, and Bland-Altman analysis. Differences were evaluated by using the paired Student t test.

Results showed that breast percentage density (PD) estimates from synthetic and standard-dose mammograms were highly correlated, and the 95% Bland-Altman limits of agreement between PD estimates were −6.4% to 9.9%. Synthetic mammograms had PD estimates by an average of 1.7% higher than standard-dose mammograms, with a larger disagreement by 1.56% in women with highly dense breast tissue.

“Fully automated estimates of breast density made from synthetic mammograms are generally comparable to those made from standard-dose mammograms,” the researchers concluded. “This may be important, as standard two-dimensional mammographic images are increasingly being replaced by synthetic mammograms in DBT screening in an attempt to reduce radiation dose.”