Computerized analysis of mammographic parenchymal patterns for assessing breast cancer risk: effect of ROI size and location

Med Phys. 2004 Mar;31(3):549-55. doi: 10.1118/1.1644514.


The long-term goal of our research is to develop computerized radiographic markers for assessing breast density and parenchymal patterns that may be used together with clinical measures for determining the risk of breast cancer and assessing the response to preventive treatment. In our earlier studies, we found that women at high risk tended to have dense breasts with mammographic patterns that were coarse and low in contrast. With our method, computerized texture analysis is performed on a region of interest (ROI) within the mammographic image. In our current study, we investigate the effect of ROI size and ROI location on the computerized texture features obtained from 90 subjects (30 BRCA1/BRCA2 gene-mutation carriers and 60 age-matched women deemed to be at low risk for breast cancer). Mammograms were digitized at 0.1 mm pixel size and various ROI sizes were extracted from different breast regions in the craniocaudal (CC) view. Seventeen features, which characterize the density and texture of the parenchymal patterns, were extracted from the ROIs on these digitized mammograms. Stepwise feature selection and linear discriminant analysis were applied to identify features that differentiate between the low-risk women and the BRCA1/BRCA2 gene-mutation carriers. ROC analysis was used to assess the performance of the features in the task of distinguishing between these two groups. Our results show that there was a statistically significant decrease in the performance of the computerized texture features, as the ROI location was varied from the central region behind the nipple. However, we failed to show a statistically significant decrease in the performance of the computerized texture features with decreasing ROI size for the range studied.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Mammography / methods*
  • Mutation
  • ROC Curve
  • Risk
  • Software


  • BRCA2 Protein