Stereoscopic mammography could reduce recall rate

November 13, 2012

A new three-dimensional (3-D) digital mammography technique has the potential to significantly improve the accuracy of breast cancer screening, according to a study published in Radiology.

Two-dimensional (2-D) x-ray mammography, the current primary for early detection of in women, is a valuable tool but has some limitations. Surrounding normal tissue can mask lesions, and 2-D views do not provide direct information about the volumetric appearance—meaning the three-dimensional physical shape—of a detected lesion.

A called stereoscopic (SDM) addresses these limitations by mimicking the way that work together to form a 3-D image. The technique uses digital mammography equipment that's been modified to allow the X-ray tube to move separately from the cassette. The resulting images are viewed on two monitors mounted one above the other.

"Our eyes see the world from two slightly different perspectives," said Carl J. D'Orsi, M.D., from the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University, both in Atlanta. "In this technique, the X-ray tube functions as the eyeball, with two different images providing slightly different views of the internal structure of the breast."

By using a unique workstation and polarizing lenses, SDM has the ability to identify lesions at different depths within the breast volume, potentially reducing both false positive findings and recalls while enabling more accurate diagnosis.

Dr. D'Orsi and colleagues recently compared SDM to 2-D digital mammography in 779 patients at elevated risk of developing breast cancer because of personal or family history. Patients received both exams in a single visit, and two experienced radiologists independently interpreted the final total of 1,298 exams. Imaging findings were correlated with results of one-year follow up or biopsy.

SDM significantly improved the accuracy of cancer detection. The specificity of 91.2 percent was better than the 87.8 percent rate for 2-D digital mammography; and the accuracy of 90.9 percent, compared with 87.4 percent for 2-D digital mammography, was also a statistically significant improvement.

"We found that the stereoscopic technique could significantly decrease the need for calling women back for additional exams," Dr. D'Orsi said.

Dr. D'Orsi and colleagues are expanding their research to study

SDM with a lower radiation dose in the general screening population. The radiation dose used in the study was approximately double the standard dose for mammography.

"In this study, we used a high-risk population to get an adequate number of cancers, and we acquired each of the images comprising the stereo pairs with a full standard X-ray dose," he said. "Now that we know the technique is worthwhile, we're repeating the study in the general population with a dose comparable to routine screening mammography."

Explore further: Digital breast tomosynthesis cuts recall rates by 40 percent

More information: "Stereoscopic Digital Mammography: Improved Specificity and Reduced Rate of Recall in a Prospective Clinical Trial." Collaborating with Dr. D'Orsi were David J. Getty, Ph.D., Ronald M. Pickett, Ph.D., Ioannis Sechopoulos, Ph.D., Mary S. Newell, M.D., Kathleen R. Gundry, M.D., Sandra R. Bates, M.D., Robert M. Nishikawa, Ph.D., Edward A. Sickles, M.D., Andrew Karellas, Ph.D., and Ellen M. D'Orsi, R.T. (R)(M).

Related Stories

Digital breast tomosynthesis cuts recall rates by 40 percent

May 3, 2012
Adding digital breast tomosynthesis to 2D mammography screening results in a 40% reduction in patient recall rates compared to routine screening mammography alone, a new study shows.

Recommended for you

Stem cell therapy attacks cancer by targeting unique tissue stiffness

July 26, 2017
A stem cell-based method created by University of California, Irvine scientists can selectively target and kill cancerous tissue while preventing some of the toxic side effects of chemotherapy by treating the disease in a ...

Understanding cell segregation mechanisms that help prevent cancer spread

July 26, 2017
Scientists have uncovered how cells are kept in the right place as the body develops, which may shed light on what causes invasive cancer cells to migrate.

Study uncovers potential 'silver bullet' for preventing and treating colon cancer

July 26, 2017
In preclinical experiments, researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center have uncovered a new way in which colon cancer develops, as well as a potential "silver bullet" for preventing and treating it. The findings may extend to ...

Compound shows promise in treating melanoma

July 26, 2017
While past attempts to treat melanoma failed to meet expectations, an international team of researchers are hopeful that a compound they tested on both mice and on human cells in a petri dish takes a positive step toward ...

Study may explain failure of retinoic acid trials against breast cancer

July 25, 2017
Estrogen-positive breast cancers are often treated with anti-estrogen therapies. But about half of these cancers contain a subpopulation of cells marked by the protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), which resists treatment—and breast ...

Breaking the genetic resistance of lung cancer and melanoma

July 25, 2017
Researchers from Monash University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC, New York) have discovered why some cancers – particularly lung cancer and melanoma – are able to quickly develop deadly resistance ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.