Stereoscopic Mammo Detects Cancer in High Risk Women

November 13, 2012

Stereoscopic digital mammography, a new 3D technique, significantly improves the accuracy of breast cancer detection in high-risk women.

Stereoscopic digital mammography, a new three-dimensional technique, significantly improves the accuracy of breast cancer detection in high-risk women, according to a study published online in the journal Radiology.

Using stereoscopic digital mammography (SDM), physicians can see beyond the two-dimensional images provided by X-ray mammography, in which surrounding normal tissue can mask lesions. Modified digital mammography equipment allows the X-ray tube to move separately from the cassette and resulting images are viewed on two monitors. This provides slightly different views of the internal structure of the breast.

Researchers from Atlanta compared SDM images with 2-D digital mammograms from 779 women who were at high risk of developing breast cancer. A total of 1,298 exams were independently interpreted by two radiologists, whose findings were correlated with one-year follow-up findings or biopsy.

The findings showed that the specificity of SDM was 91.2 percent, better than the 87.8 percent rate for 2-D digital mammography. The accuracy was 90.0 percent for SDM, compared with 87.4 percent for 2-D imaging.

“We found that the stereoscopic technique could significantly decrease the need for calling back women for additional exams,” said Carl. J. D’Orsi, MD, from the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory.

Further study is needed as the radiation dose used for this study was double the standard dose, researchers said.

“Now that we now the technique is worthwhile,” D’Orsi said, “we’re repeating the study in the general population with a dose comparable to routine screening mammography.”