Stereoscopic mammography could reduce recall rate

November 13, 2012, Radiological Society of North America

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

Mutant cells colonize our tissues over our lifetime

October 18, 2018
By the time we reach middle age, more than half of the oesophagus in healthy people has been taken over by cells carrying mutations in cancer genes, scientists have uncovered. By studying normal oesophagus tissue, scientists ...

A 150-year-old drug might improve radiation therapy for cancer

October 17, 2018
A drug first identified 150 years ago and used as a smooth-muscle relaxant might make tumors more sensitive to radiation therapy, according to a recent study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer ...

Study involving hundreds of patient samples may reveal new treatment options of leukemia

October 17, 2018
After more than five years and 672 patient samples, an OHSU research team has published the largest cancer dataset of its kind for a form of leukemia. The study, "Functional Genomic Landscape of Acute Myeloid Leukemia", published ...

Loss of protein p53 helps cancer cells multiply in 'unfavourable' conditions

October 17, 2018
Researchers have discovered a novel consequence of loss of the tumour protein p53 that promotes cancer development, according to new findings in eLife.

Researcher fighting breast cancer with light therapy

October 17, 2018
When treatment is working for a patient who is fighting cancer, the light at the end of the tunnel is easier to see.

New method uses just a drop of blood to monitor lung cancer treatment

October 17, 2018
Dr. Tasuku Honjo won the 2018 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discovering the immune T-cell protein PD-1. This discovery led to a set of anti-cancer medications called checkpoint inhibitors, one of the first of ...

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.