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Reliability in Measuring Breast Density


Two automated volumetric methods were superior in measuring breast density.

Precision measurement for breast density was better with Volpara and Quantra methods than for either Cumulus ABD and CumulusV, according to a study published in the journal Radiology.

Researchers from Canada and the U.S. sought to estimate the reliability of a reference standard two-dimensional area-based method and three automated volumetric breast density measurements using repeated measures.

A total of 30 women undergoing screening mammography between March 2013 and May 2013 participated in the study. The women ranged in age from 42 to 90 (mean age 60). They underwent a repeated left craniocaudal examination performed by a second technologist.

The breast density was measured by using an area-based method (Cumulus ABD) and three automated volumetric methods (CumulusV [University of Toronto], Volpara [version 1.4.5; Volpara Solutions, Wellington, New Zealand), and Quantra [version 2.0; Hologic, Danbury, Conn]),” wrote the authors. “Discrepancy between the first and second breast density measurements (Δ1–2) was obtained for each algorithm by subtracting the second measurement from the first. The Δ1–2 values of each algorithm were then analyzed with a random-effects model to derive Bland-Altman–type limits of measurement agreement.”

The results showed that the precision was better for Volpara and Quantra than for either Cumulus, which had higher variability.

Within-breast density measurement standard deviations
Cumulus ABD







The researchers concluded that breast density variability was lowest for Volpara and Quantra. “These algorithms may be more suited to incorporation into a risk model,” they wrote.

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